It’s going to be a busy summer for Dawn Collins. Collins, the promotions coordinator for the Mar-Del Watermelon Association, has an event planned for virtually every week of June and July.
Things get started June 11 in Chestertown, Md., when the association will hand out watermelon slices to about 700 cyclists and walkers at the midpoint of the two-day, 31-mile Chesapeake Challenge, a fundraising event put on by the Maryland chapter of the National Multiple Sclerosis Society.
“That’s a big highlight for them,” Collins said of participants. “They love us.”
On June 17, the association will serve watermelon and hand out pamphlets at its booth during the Delmarva Chicken Festival. Collins said the event in Georgetown, Del., should draw about 30,000 people.
“They’re putting an emphasis on healthy eating this year,” Collins said, “so they want us to talk about the health benefits of watermelon.”
Association member Coastal Growers LLC, Salisbury, Md., will have a booth June 25-26 during Safeway’s National Capital BBQ Battle in Washington, D.C. Mar-Del Watermelon Queen Jordan Calloway will help hand out samples during the event, which covers five blocks of Pennsylvania Avenue.
“It’s huge,” Collins said. “They’ll go through 15 bins of watermelon in two days. We try to get the taste in their mouths, and hopefully they’ll go buy some.”
Coastal Growers president Will Hales, a Mar-Del board member, said that in addition to samples, his company and the association will be promoting the locally gown message, the health benefits of watermelon and tips on how to pick out a ripe melon. He estimated the booth would draw about 10,000 people in two days.
Calloway and national watermelon queen Whitney Connor are scheduled to make appearances at grocery stores and other selected locations in the region during the first week in August.
Collins said other summer activities include sampling in at least four Acme Markets locations in Delaware and New Jersey; two or three days of sampling and cooking demonstrations during the Delaware State Fair, which is scheduled for July 21 to July 30 in Harrington, Del.; and Wright’s Market Watermelon Festival July 30 in Salisbury, Md.