The 45th annual Hope Watermelon Festival drew a large crowd to southwestern Arkansas Thursday through Saturday.

A host of activities made up the event, including a BBQ chicken supper, watermelon olympics, a dog show, baggo tournament, a fish fry, a car show, a watermelon 5K, vendors, a watermelon-eating contest, seed-spitting contest and a taekwondo demonstration.

Music acts included Nighthawk, a Hope-Texarkana band; Jake Gill, a country artist from Kansas; and Phil Vasser, an award-winning country music singer from Virginia.

There was a Watermelon Idol Contest. Hope native Carl Jackson sang a country song and took home the second-place prize of $150. Megan Lance of Hope performed a gospel medley with her dad, “Tom Tom.” Lance was the winner and received $300 and got to open the show for Vassar.

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