Under the Dome

NC legislature celebrates Watermelon Day with seed-spitting contest

Wednesday was Watermelon Day at the N.C. General Assembly, and while no politicians were willing to join a seed-spitting contest, plenty stopped by to sample the fruit.

Among the dignitaries grabbing a slice: Gov. Pat McCrory and House Speaker Tim Moore. McCrory polished off his slice quickly, leaving no specks of pink on the rind.

“Holy smokes, you killed that thing,” Moore told the governor, joking that “all we do at the Legislative Building is stand around and eat watermelons.”

McCrory added: “That’s why we wear ties.”

Sen. Brent Jackson, a Sampson County Republican and a watermelon farmer, hosted the event and sported a watermelon tie for the occasion.

But despite Jackson’s enthusiasm for watermelons, neither he nor other legislators opted to spit seeds themselves. A handful of legislative aides and lobbyists tried their spitting prowess on the long red measuring map set out for the occasion.

The strongest spitters managed about 20 feet. And the reigning N.C. Watermelon Queen, Carmen Honeycutt of Benson, came in second.

The annual milk-chugging competition has become a tradition as a Senate versus House contest, but the seed spitting was a new event “Maybe we need to have a watermelon seed spitting contest too” between the two chambers, Jackson said.

Watermelon Day is now in its third year, and Jackson says it’s a chance for legislators to “enjoy the fruits of their labor when they pass legislation related to agriculture.”

The melons had some competition Wednesday in the free produce arena: The legislature was also observing Tomato Sandwich Day. That meant free tomato sandwiches – on white bread with plenty of mayo, of course – to accompany the watermelon slices.