Update: There will be no 2009 Mayor’s Tailgate Party (aka Free Watermelon Friday). Commenter Carla called Pioneer Square and was told that due to the state of the economy, the folks from Hermiston won’t make it to Portland this year 🙁
The Hermiston Watermelon Association is making its annual trek to Portland to give away free watermelons at Pioneer Square (and cantaloupes and potatoes too) on Friday. This will be the 17th year in a row.
Like lots of good things in the Rose City, this tradition started when Bud Clark was mayor.
As Frank Harkenrider, a former mayor of Hermiston, describes it, back in 1991 . . .
“I went to City Hall with two pickup load,” Harkenrider said. “That’s where it started, with Bud Clark.” Then Harkenrider let loose with a “whoop, whoop,” using the former call Clark was known for during is campaign for term as mayor of Portland.
If it’s like last year the giveaway will begin at noon, but you might have to endure some politicians’ speeches first.
There is also a watermelon seed spitting contest.