The Indiana Insider Blog

Vincennes: Where Ridiculous New Year’s Celebrations Make Perfect Sense

In case you were wondering, here is the recipe for turning a ridiculous specatcle into a traditional community even in 5 years:

1. An 18-foot, 500-pound watermelon
2. A “splatform”
3. Construction crane
4. Sober and licensed construction crane operator
5. Gravity
6. Ensuing BBQ cookoff

What better way to bid 2012 “adieu” than to smash its final seconds into oblivion? Literally.

Vincennes Watermelon Drop

Vincennes Watermelon Drop photo courtesy

The Vincennes Riverfront Pavilion Dec. 31. will be the scene of what’s been described by as one of the 10 “quirkiest” New Years’s celebrations in the country. And that’s saying something since EVERYONE celebrates on New Year’s where as not so many on Arbor Day or United Nations Day.

Called simply “The Watermelon Drop,” the event is over almost as quickly as it begins when, at the stroke of midnight, 13 Knox County watermelons will drop to a “splatform” as fireworks light the sky.

Watermelon drop rings in 2012

New this year will be a Barbeque Cook-Off contest with judging at 9 p.m. The contest has attracted 12 competitors from Vincennes, Bruceville, Washington, Oaktown, Linton, and the Illinois communities of Mt. Vernon, Lawrenceville, and Palestine.

The top prize in the Barbeque Cook-Off will be $500. Area businesses, clubs and families are also invited to reserve space to set-up tents or campers adjacent to the Pavilion on either Busseron Street or First Street.

Event planners hop the Barbeque Cook-Off adds to the festivities that include music, food and drink vendors, and a variety of New Year’s product vendors.

Since its creation in 2008, the 18-foot watermelon has become a star attraction in Vincennes, with people applauding its procession in the town’s July 4th and Christmas parades. Can’t make it? Keep an eye on YouTube and UStream where dozens of crowd members “broadcast” the event live. The Watermelon Drop will also be broadcast live on

Vincennes Riverfront Pavilion is located at the corner of First and Busseron streets. Beginning at 9 p.m. (EST), revelers at the pavilion will enjoy food, drink, music, games, noisemakers and of course, fun. There will also be a DJ and karaoke. An assortment of Watermelon Drop clothing and novelty items will also be for sale.

Indiana’s first city, founded in 1732, Vincennes is the county seat of Knox County, well-known for its multi-million dollar melon crops that are shipped throughout the nation.

The entry fee for the Barbeque Cook-Off Contest is $50 and for vendors it is $25 with reservations made by calling  812-885-2640. Space rental for tents and campers is $25 with reservations made by calling the Convention and Visitors Bureau at 800-886-6443.

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Written by : Mike is a social media consultant who lives in Carmel, IN. He works with Hoosier companies to set-up and develop an effective and productive social media presence. Born and raised in Evansville, Mike graduated from Butler University in 1993. He has developed his photography and video production skills over the years in his service as a journalist, marketing director and as a communications consultant to the Mitch for Governor campaigns. Mike is always looking for story ideas that uncover the coolest and unheralded places and activities in Indiana. Follow him on twitter @mikemagan. Mike receives compensation from the Indiana Office of Tourism Development for blogging. For more information, see our FTC Disclosure page.