NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY
National Watermelon Day on August 3 recognizes the refreshing summertime treat enjoyed at picnics and fairs! And since watermelon is 92% water, it is very satisfying in the summer heat.
This vine-like flowering plant originated from southern Africa. While the word watermelon refers to both the fruit and the plant to botanists, the plant is a pepo. The pepo is a berry with a thick rind and fleshy center. Interestingly, pepos develop from an inferior ovary. They are also characteristic of the Cucurbitaceae, a scientific term for the gourd family.
While the watermelon fruit is loosely considered a type of melon, unlike other melons, it’s not in the genus Cucumis. The smooth exterior usually produces a dark green rind with stripes or yellow spots. Watermelons produce a juicy, sweet interior flesh ranging from deep red to pink. However, sometimes it comes in orange, yellow, or white.
While melon holds plentiful water, wild melons tasted bland and bitter. This clue suggests that desert dwellers likely cultivated the first melon. The seeds and art found in the tombs of Pharoh’s supply additional clues to the watermelon’s value. tombs of Pharaohs. Over time, cultivation and breeding brought out the better qualities of the sweet and tender fruit we enjoy today.
With proper growing conditions, watermelons grow to enormous sizes. Around the world, competitions award prizes each year for the largest one. The Guinness Book of World Records states that the heaviest watermelon weighed 262 pounds. To learn more refreshing watermelon facts, check out www.watermelon.org.
HOW TO OBSERVE #NationalWatermelonDay
While you are celebrating the day, spread the joy! Visit a pick your own watermelon patch or pick one up from your local farmer’s market. Then, slice it up and invite the neighborhood over to share. Make a fruit salad or cut it into wedges. What are your favorite watermelon memories? Try these other fun ways to celebrate the day, too!
- Host a seed-spitting contest.
- Create a new watermelon recipe. You can also share your favorites!
- Enjoy watermelon-flavored candies or beverages.
- Create a frozen watermelon dessert.
- Learn how to pick a ripe watermelon.
- Complete a watermelon carving. You know, like pumpkins but sweeter!
- Make a Vodka Watermelon Basil Granita.
What recipes will you be trying? Post on social media using #NationalWatermelonDay.
Parents and educators, check out more ways to #CelebrateEveryDay by visiting the National Day Calendar Classroom!
NATIONAL WATERMELON DAY HISTORY
While our research did not uncover the creator and origin of National Watermelon Day, we do offer you many more ways to celebrate fresh fruits and veggies.
Check out these delicious celebrations:
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August 3rd Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Explorer, Christopher Columbus, sets sail across the Atlantic Ocean in search of a swifter passage to the East Indies. Along with Columbus, his crew sailed in three ships, the Niña, Pinta, and Santa Maria. While he didn’t reach the East Indies, they did land on the shores of what is now known as the Bahamas.
Launching intercollegiate athletic events for the first time in U.S. history, Yale College and Harvard University compete in a boating race. The schools’ boat clubs raced on Lake Winnepiseogee. The winner? Harvard. The team took home a pair of black walnut oars with silver mountings.
Twenty-six dentists from around the country establish the American Dental Association (ADA). The ADA still functions today, advising on the Nation’s oral health.
Harvey Firestone establishes Firestone Tire and Rubber Co. in Acron, OH. The new company produced tires for automobiles under their patented process. It would later go on to supply tires to the Ford Motor Company.
Following the death of President Harding, Calvin Coolidge is sworn into office as the 30th U.S. President.
Jesse Owens wins his first gold medal in the 100-meter dash at the Berlin Olympics. He would go on to win a total of 4 gold medals on the cusp of World War II.
Santa Claus Land opens in Santa Claus, IN. The theme park took a year to construct and is one of the oldest, continually operated amusement parks in North America.
In 1891, James Naismith hung a peach basket creating a new game for physical educations students. Fifty-five years later, the Basketball Association of America and the National Basketball League merge creating the National Basketball Association.
At the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles, California, Mary Lou Retton scores a perfect 10. Which competition, you ask? She performed her thrilling feat on the vault. She would go on to win a total of 5 medals, more than any other athlete that year.
August 3rd Celebrated (and Not So Celebrated) History
Elisha Otis – 1811
Otis is the inventor of the first safe elevator designed to carry people and cargo. In 1853, Otis debuted his creation at the Crystal Palace Exhibition in New York.
Ernie Pyle – 1900
The Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist is best known for his reports as a war correspondent during World War II.
John T Scopes – 1900
In 1925, a court found Scopes guilty of teaching evolution in his science classes at Rhea County Central High School in Tennessee. He violated Tennessee’s Butler Act which prohibited any teachings denying Devine Creation.
Maggie Kuhn – 1905
Kuhn is the founder of the Gray Panthers. She and the organization confronted ageism in America.
Anne Klein – 1923
A trailblazer in the fashion world, Klein launched the Anne Klein & Company in 1968 along with Gunther Oppenheim.
Tony Bennet – 1926
The popular crooner is known around the world for songs such as “I Left My Heart in San Francisco,” “It Don’t Mean a Thing,” and “Stranger in Paradise.” He continues to sing with a variety a musical artists, too.
Martin Sheen – 1940
Born Ramón Gerard Antonio Estéves, Sheen has starred in numerous successful films. His television roles have also seen success, such as The West Wing and Grace and Frankie.
Beverly Lee – 1941
As a member of the pop quartet, the Shirelles, Lee and her groupmates earned #1 on the pop charts for their song “Will You Still Love Me Tomorrow.” They were also the first all-female group to reach this milestone.
Martha Stewart – 1941
Stewart turned her talent for cooking, decorating, and entertainment into a multibillion-dollar enterprise. In 1999, Stewart made her first billion dollars, earning her the title of the first woman in the U.S. to join the ranks of self-made billionaires.
Mary Ann Esposito – 1942
Esposito hosts Ciao Italia, the longest-running cooking show on television in the United States.
John Landis – 1942
Known for directing such films as The Blues Brothers, Coming To America, and Beverly Hills Cop, Landis also directed Michael Jackson’s music videos.
Marcel Dionne – 1950
Over an 18 year career, Dionne played center in the National Hockey League. In 1992, he was inducted into the Hall of Fame.
Joan Higginbotham – 1964
As the third African-American in space, Higginbotham served as a mission specialist aboard the Space Shuttle Discovery.
Tom Brady – 1977
As a quarterback in the National Football League, Brady has played in 9 Super Bowls.