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Aeronautical Center Amateur Radio Club, Inc.

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Rush Springs Watermelon Festival

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2016 Pictures (click to open larger version)

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About the Watermelon Festival

The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival has been held continuously since 1948. It had its beginning in 1940 and has become one of the most popular festivals in the state. The festival has proven popular, since its beginning and the crowds have increased in number to around 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year. Over 50,000 pounds of watermelons are purchased from area melon growers and served to festival visitors during the day. The activities during the day include watermelon exhibits, stage shows, tiny tots contest, free watermelon feed, carnival, and arts and crafts.

Rush Springs, Oklahoma A Nice Place to Live! by Mac Vincent

Rush Springs, a small town of about 1500 friendly people, is located 65 miles southwest of Oklahoma City at the junction of US Highway 81 and OK Highway 17. It has all the good things associated with living in a small town without all the hassles of a large city. However, it is not far to a large metropolitan area for entertainment and shopping. Each year on the second Saturday in August, the town celebrates the watermelon harvest with The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival. All day entertainment, with free watermelon in the afternoon is enjoyed by all! Festival 2004 will be on August 14. Usually about 20,000 people from many states and several foreign countries come to spend the day. . Watermelons are important to the economy of this area and get most of the publicity. However, ranching, farming, peanuts, canning, and manufacturing probably have just as large an impact

Brief History of Rush Springs, Oklahoma Courtesy of Rush Springs Gazette

Rush Springs gets its name from the large springs near the head of Rush Creek from which the town gets its water supply. It is one of the oldest, if not the oldest, settlements in Grady County, Oklahoma. The territory of Rush Springs served as a camping place for Indian Tribes from very early days. The Wichita Indians first moved by the springs and settled on Rush Creek about four miles southeast of the present town about 1850. It was at this place that the famous "Battle of the Wichita Village" was fought between the Comanches and the United States Cavalry under the command of General Earl Van Dorn on October 1, 1858. Following the battle, the Wichitas fled to Fort Arbuckle. The famous Chisholm Cattle Trail passed about one and one-half miles east of town and this area became a watering place for many herds of cattle that were driven northward from Texas to Kansas to be shipped by rail to eastern markets. During the years 1871 to 1878 Fort Sill was established nearby and supplies were shipped to it from points in the eastern part of Indian Territory. After the building of Missouri, Kansas and Texas Railroad, government freight and many passengers as well as mail, were hauled from here to Fort Sill. This became a major shipping route. A stage stand was built and a little town sprung up. The Huntley Ranch was established on Rush Creek near the site of the old Wichita Village. The ranch became a stage stand and freight station in 1883. The office was moved to Rush Springs in 1892. On November 21, 1889, the town of Rush Springs incorporated. The town was officially named Rush Springs, Indian Territory, at this time. When the Rock Island Railroad came by the springs, the town took on a rapid growth since it was one of the government freight stations to Fort Sill. In the early 1900s the freight trade ceased and since then the town has depended on ranching, farming and oil interests for its existence. Watermelons have been grown in and around Rush Springs for more than 100 years! The Indians who lived in the area were known for growing the watermelons. That's one reason our melons are the best, we have spent many years perfecting them. Some things don't change much. Watermelons can still be purchased from growers and sellers along the highway and on Main Street. There's plenty to go around...so take several home with you.

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