Going With the Flow at Watermelon Park in Berryville, Virginia
At Watermelon Park, kids and dads fish with Coke-can reels. Suburban ladies toast doughboys (campfire sticky-bun treats) outside campers that transform from motor home to mansion at the push of a button. Latino families wage a never-ending fútbol match on the grassy open bottomland that was once John Miller’s fifty-acre watermelon patch. On hot summer days, tubing is the main attraction. Floaters launch about a mile upstream, and quickly succumb to the Shenandoah River’s snail-paced whims. Ripples, dead spots, and eddies determine distinct tubal trajectories, causing floating conversation clusters to form, disperse, and re-form in slow motion down the river. Bluegrass first came to Watermelon Park in the forties when moonshiners crossed the river to entertain the Saturday crowds that came to buy Miller’s melons. Every September, his son, Junior, continues that tradition by hosting Watermelon Park Fest, a three-day family-friendly music festival.