Most days of the year, Luling, Texas is a sleepy town of around 5,500 people. Come late June, though, that number swells to 35,000, and it’s all because of watermelon.
Since 1954, Luling has been host to the Watermelon Thump, a four-day festival celebrating all things watermelon. It was started by Hermon Allen, a school principal who proposed the idea of a celebration to honor the growers and promote Luling’s watermelon market. A contest was held to name the event, and the Thump won out. Its name comes from the practice of thumping to test whether a watermelon is ripe — merely thump the top of the melon and listen to the sound. A dull thud usually means ripe, whereas a hollow sound isn’t so good.
Weekend events include the seed-spitting contest, parade, music acts, food booths, crafts, carnival rides and melon auction, which raises money to support local growers.