Looming over the town of Luling, Texas, a giant watermelon pays tribute to the area’s cash crop.
Texas is one of the United States’ leading producers of watermelon, but Luling’s love for the fruit is particularly strong. There are overflowing summertime stands, watermelon-themed murals, an annual festival, and there was once an entire store devoted to watermelon paraphernalia (it’s since closed). This pride peaks with the town water tower, which stands 154 feet tall with a green-and-white-striped tank at the top.
While you can see the tower anytime, those who want to double-down on all things melon should visit Luling during the last full weekend in June. Not only is June the beginning of watermelon harvest season, it’s also when the town hosts the annual Watermelon Thump, which involves plenty of opportunities for tucking into the juicy fruit as well as seed-spitting and largest melon competitions. The largest melon in the history of the festival was a black diamond that topped 80 pounds.
What is is a watermelon “thump” exactly? It’s how you test a watermelon for ripeness. You “thump” (or flick) the rind with your finger and listen. If you hear a dull sound, it’s not ready. If you’re met with a deep, hollow sound, you’ve found a ripe melon. Dig in.