Day of Watermelon and his friends in Loev

At the end of the summer, when the main crop begins to ripen, the season of fairs usually begins in Belarus, where farmers bring potatoes, tomatoes, cucumbers, apples and other vegetables and fruits that are traditional for our area. But in Loev this year the harvest festival has been held unusually, because the main character was a watermelon.

From the morning of August 24, a large watermelon fair began to unfold in the city center. Those who have been growing the watermelons this year from all over the Gomel region gathered to show and sell their watermelons. Schools, various institutions and families that took part in the network experiment “Water-melon Growth Testing” mainly brought them. In total, representatives of more than 30 teams of participants in the experiment came to the holiday, 27 of them took part in the festive fair - prepared presentation tables with the “Top Gan”, “Romanza” and “Bedouin” varieties grown by them, as well as other berries, fruits and vegetables. Not only the participants of the experiment, but also other school and family teams - for example, Ostashkovichi school of Svetlogorsk district, presented their agricultural products, including watermelons, and there were guests from Mogilev region - the team of Khimovsky educational and pedagogical complex. Representatives of neighboring Ukraine came to get acquainted with the experience of growing watermelons in school districts - teachers and students of several schools from Chernihiv region.

A competition was held among the watermelon growers, participating in the fair - an experienced team of experts tried watermelons, talked with all the experimenters and evaluated their presentations in terms of presentation of their products, their taste and appearance. As a result, the main prize of the watermelon competition went to the teams of the SEI "Ruchaevsky kindergarten - secondary school" of Loev district and the SEI "Malozhinsky secondary school" of Bragin district. The remaining participants were awarded with memorable diplomas and useful gifts from sponsors and partners of the initiative - seedling cassettes from “Belvtorpolymer” OJSC, “Gumirost” organic fertilizer from “AgroBio” LLC and a set of seeds from Bejo Zaden B.V. in the Republic of Belarus. School teams also received as a gift handbags, notebooks and pens with the symbols of the “School Garden” project. The organizers also noted Ruchaev School, which was the main consulting center during the experiment. 

According to estimates of all the participants of the holiday - experimenters, experts and ordinary guests - the “Bedouin” turned out to be the tastiest and sweetest of the three varieties presented.

Watermelons that day could be found at every turn. A watermelon playground was organized near the library - a fun tasting “Watermelon Glutton”, watermelon face painting, games, puzzles and riddles on the theme of watermelons, a thematic exhibition of children's drawings, and a “Watermelon postcard” watercolor workshop. In the park local farmers offered their treats, not only the watermelons, but watermelon jam and drinks.

The children, who came with their watermelon teams, became the participants of the “Watermelon maelstrom” game. Its peculiarity was that all game tasks later became the numbers of the concert program of the holiday. The children visited six berths: they had to show their knowledge of watermelons at a watermelon berth. They “grew” clay mushrooms at the pottery berth. They participated in painting the walls of the embankment at the art berth. They learned several traditional Belarusian dances at the dance berth. They learned Polesie songs at the song berth (one of which - “Swimming Choven” - was performed in the concert finale). At the theater berth each team (and there were six in all) prepared a small theatrical scene from Loyev’s life. At the end of the festival, all the scenes were shown on the beach against the backdrop of the painting “River Station” and in front of the main stage as a theatrical point of the holiday.

The concert program was no less intense than the watermelon’s. Local groups performed on stage songs and ditties, showed dance numbers on a watermelon theme, specially prepared for the holiday. Moreover, near the house of culture, in the shade of the trees, there was organized a "Singing Meeting". Its leader Sergey Dolgushev performed several songs with a lyre, a pity and a pipe, and then, together with the residents of Loev and the guests of the holiday, he learned several Belarusian and Jewish songs. Following one of them, the entire gathering moved to the beach to see theatrical scenes from the life of Loev, which the guys prepared during the game "Watermelon maelstrom".

For the guests of the holiday there was organized an interesting excursion program. In the morning, there was an opportunity to walk along Loev together with the director of the Battle of the Dnieper Museum Ksenia Semashko during the tour “A History Written on Water”. And during the day and when the festive chords calmed down, three more excursions took place. The first one - “Round the holy places of the Loyevschina” in a forest near the village of Krupeyki, to the place of the appearance of the miraculous icon of Paraskeva Pyatnitsa, the patron saint of Love. The second - "Archaeological Antiquities of the Loev Land" round the Mokhov archaeological complex, which was conducted by Olga Drevilo, a student of the History Department of Gomel State University.  And the third is a trip to the “Belarusian India” - the Dnieper-Sozh reserve. More information about these trips one can find on the website of the Museum of the Battle of the Dnieper.

So, the first Day of Watermelon and his friends took place. The watermelon theme significantly revived the usual city holiday and became a continuation of the fair traditions of the Loewshchyna. We hope that the watermelon holiday will take root on this earth and next year we will gather again to feast on this juicy berry on the banks of the Dnieper.

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This publication has been produced with the support of the European Union and the Green Cross International. Responsibility for the content of this publication lies with the public organization “Green Cross Belarus”, and it can in no way be taken to reflect the views of the European Union and  Green Cross International.