The Milan Village square was packed on Saturday for the first day of the 49th annual Milan Melon Festival.
The day started at 9 a.m. with the antique car show presented by Car Coddlers of Ohio; the festival began at 10 a.m.
At 7 p.m. the Edison High School band took the stage. Festival-goers danced to the music along the crowded streets, most of them enjoying grilled sweet corn, Berardi's french fries, or the annual favorite -- Toft's special muskmelon ice cream and watermelon sherbet.
"This is the only time you can get them," said Doris Whitehouse, vice president of the Edison Athletic Boosters. Whitehouse has worked at the Athletic Boosters booth at the Melon Festival for the past eight years.
"It's one of our main money-makers," Whitehouse said of the ice cream booth.
"We had somebody come in and buy 37 gallons," said Ann Carroll of Columbus, who was helping her sister Lisa Gilliam of Milan at the ice cream booth. Carroll said that the man who bought 37 gallons of the frozen treat comes to the Melon Festival every year from Cleveland just to stock up on the specialty flavors found only at the Melon Festival.
All of the fall sports athletes from Edison worked to scoop up the delicious melon treats.
"It's hard work but we get free ice cream," said David Bender, a ninth-grader at Edison High who runs on the cross country team. Bender was cleaning up after working a two-hour shift of scooping ice cream with teammate and classmate Ryan Reber.
Reber said that the watermelon ice cream was his favorite flavor.
"The watermelon is easier to scoop too," Reber said with a smile.
Weston Strayer, a junior on the Edison cross-country team, also enjoyed some watermelon sherbet after working at the Athletic Booster's booth.
"It's fun but it's hard work," Strayer said.
"Once the band's done it gets really busy," Reber said.
At 8 p.m. the crowd gathered around the stage, filling the stands and the street to watch the Melon Festival queen contest.
Mandi Richards was crowned this year's queen. Richards, 17, daughter of Mike and Kathy Richards, is a senior at Edison. She is a member of the volleyball, track, basketball and Varsity E club. She is also vice president of the Spanish Club. Last year's Melon Festival queen, Kelsey Parker, passed her crown to Richards with some words of advice for all of the girls.
"The most important piece of advice -- enjoy the year, it goes so fast," Parker said. Parker attended more than 27 festivals as last year's queen.
First runner-up was Erin Flannery, daughter of John and Lari Flannery. Second attendant was Abbey Frankboner, daughter of Mark and Jan Frankboner. Third attendant was Meghan Lally, daughter of Bill and Karen Lally. Fourth attendant was Brianne Bolding, daughter of Jon and Celina Bolding.
"We've had a really good first day," said Richard Tenkins, a former chairman of the Melon Festival. Tenkins said that this year there are 36 vendors and booths in the town square, with at least 30 arts and crafts at the festival.
Terry Meyers, electrician for the Melon Festival, said that he knows of three Edison class reunions this weekend.
"Everyone comes back to town for the festival," Meyers said. "What better time for a reunion?"