for 2017 is scheduled for September 8th, 9th & 10th
This will be the 45th Year
Plans are currently underway to provide Free, Family Fun!
FREE Kids Games & Inflatables
FREE Adult Games
Flea Market, Crafts and other Vendors
and much more!
(Times and events may change)
Here are last years events and activities:
Friday, September 9th, 2016
(Times and events may change)
5-7pm Free-Will Donation Dinner at Fayette Fire Station (Money will go to Watermelon Days)
5-7pm *NEW* Free Horse Drawn Carriage Rides on Main Street
5-7pm *NEW* Free Barrel Rides on Main Street
5-7pm Free Ice Cream Social sponsored by First State Bank on Main Street
6:30pm 5K Walk/Run Starts near Gavin's IGA
6:30pm Mayor's Awards & Crowning of Little Miss & Master Fayette and Miss & Mr Fayette on Main Street Stage (Contact Laurie Post at 563-419-6304 if interested in running)
7:30pm Free Tot Trot on Main Street (Ages 6 and under)
7:35pm Free Fun Run on Main Street (Ages 12 and under)
7pm-8pm *NEW* Lip-Sync Contest on Main Street Stage - Grand Prize $100
8pm-12am Street Dance with DJ Tommy Friend on Main Street Stage
Saturday, September 10th, 2016 (Times and events may change)
9am-3pm Vendors at Flea Market & Craft Show
11am Parade on Main Street (Line up at 10am on King Street)
12-3pm Silent Auction at Fayette Library
12-4pm FREE Kids Games, FREE Kids Inflatables, FREE Watermelon, FREE Entertainment, FREE Face Painting, FREE Barrel Rides, FREE Fire Truck Rides, FREE Kiddie Tractor Pull and more.
12-2pm Live music by Aaron Smith on Main Street Stage
1pm Corn Hole Tournament on Main Street (Register at Noon on Main Street)
2-4pm Laser Tag ($2 per game, by Gavin's Grocery Store)
1pm Duck Races on Main Street bridge
2-4pm Live Music by Joshuah Payne on Water Street Stage
2pm Kids Treasure Hunt at Sand Volleyball Courts
4-5pm BINGO at Legion Hall
4pm Magic show with Magic Herman on the Main Street Stage
5pm Watermelon Days Button Raffle ($500 Cash First Prize along with many other prizes) near Main Street Stage
5pm Fayette Fireman's Supper (Free Will Donation)
6-8pm Christian Singer, Cherie Norquay on Main Street Stage
8-9pm Ace Jones performs on Water Street Stage
Dusk- Amazing Fireworks (Sponsored by the City of Fayette)
*NEW* Following Fireworks - Sky Lantern Launch ($3 per sky lantern), lift off on Main Street Bridge
10pm-1am Bar Flyz on Main Street Stage
Sunday, September 11th, 2016 (Times and events may change)
8am Unorganized Tractor Ride (Leaving Gavin's at 9am)
9am-3pm Watermelon Days Fayette Car Club Show & Shine at Klock's Island Park. Fayette Lion's Club will have food available for purchase at the park.
The History of Fayette Watermelon Days
What started out as a simple idea has turned into 40 years of celebrating. This year's Fayette Watermelon Days grand marshal is no stranger to the local celebration. Vera (Stepp) Splinter and her extended family are the masterminds behind the original Watermelon Days that took place in 1972.
Vera remembers her dad, Atrus "Attie", as an observer. One of his many observations 40 years ago brought him to the City Council and later brought the very first Watermelon Days to Fayette.
"He noticed that most of the towns around had celebrations, but Fayette didn't have anything like that," Vera recalled.
He may not have meant to specifically create Watermelon Days, but after offering to bring melons to the event he helped to orchestrate, the town dubbed it properly.
The Fayette native and his wife, Lottie, owned a farm just northwest of the town. There, they, along with their three children, of which Vera was the youngest, farmed a variety of items, including fruit, corn, vegetables, cattle, and more.
Vera remembers there being a small crowd that first year, but the celebration taking root and growing more each year.
"Dad brought a small flatbed truck with melons the first year, but the loads grew with the crowds. Since it was always hot, they eventually started using tanks to cool the melons," the local woman noted.
Attie originally sold his melons from a feed bunk on his front lawn down the gravel road on which the farm was located. In the 1940s he decided to market the melons on his mother's land right along Hwy 150. The easily accessible location became a thriving stop for many, as the Stepps sold local produce and products throughout every season.
It wasn't long before the watermelon business overtook the Stepp family; they eventually increased their crop from a few acres to a total of 90 acres of melons. Attie would take note of any extra produce and say the family needed to "find a home" for the abundance. They had stands in Decorah and Mason City, also selling to area grocery stores.
"We increased the crop as the demand increased," Vera said proudly.
The Stepps would talk with other melon producers from Iowa and surrounding states. Vera recalls her mom visiting with the wives of the producers and often saying, "They're still talking about melons," in regard to her father and the other farmers.
In all their years of supplying product, Vera noted the loyalty of customers from all over Fayette County. People have told Vera countless stories about stopping at the stand to purchase a melon before heading out-of-state or just up the road to visit neighbors.
"Those memories are heartwarming to hear," she related.
The Stepps also sold their famous melons by the slice at the Fayette County Fair from year to year. Vera recalls working at the fair and getting all her best friends to help out as well. The Stepps also provided many locals with a summer job raking and harvesting the watermelon crop.
Although Vera was grown and living on her own by the time Watermelon Days came to fruition, she managed to come home for Watermelon Days one year.
"I could see all the good things that came about," she noted.
While many agree that the Stepps played an important role in the Fayette community for many years, Vera said her dad was always humble about any contributions he made.
"He would always say, 'I didn't do this alone,'" the grand marshal recalled.
Attie farmed until 1991; he was 95 years old when he planted his last crop. He passed away in 1993. There is a life-sized painting of Attie in the Fayette Community Library.