CENTER, TX (KTRE) - Center, Texas used to be known for its watermelon, so much so that they started a festival to celebrate the town's abundance of their favorite summertime fruit.
"When it started, it was to see the local farmers and who could grow the biggest melon," said Center farmer Royce Johnson. "Watermelons used to be real popular around here."
The What-a-Melon Festival quickly grew into an annual town favorite and, as watermelons tend to, kept growing.
"It's grown," Johnson said. "Now there's a carnival and we have a whole lot of other things. It's getting bigger every year."
Overtime, the number of watermelon farmers in Center began to decrease.
Instead of getting rid of the What-a-Melon Festival, the Center Rotary Club took it over eleven years ago and turned it into a fundraiser that would give back to the community.
"All the money that rotary raises and distributes goes to the youth in the county," explained Bob Reeves, a Center Rotary Club member. "It's supporting the scout troops, little league baseball, softball, and scholarships at the end of the school year."
The Center Rotary Club raises anywhere from $25,000 to $30,000from the festival annually. They are proud that they can carry on a beloved town tradition and even make it a little more special.
"I just think it's really great to be part of an organization that is such a big deal in the community and that we're a part of making things a little bit better," said Center Rotary Club President Anna Lee.
According to Center rotary Club, planning preparations for next year's festival begin in just a few weeks.