The Pageland Watermelon Festival began in July, 1951. Founding fathers, the Pageland Merchant's Association, wanted to promote the many watermelon growers in our area. The first meeting took place in June that year and the next month, on July 12th the festival was born! The steering committee expected 5,000 people to be on hand for the first annual event.
The premiere festival boasted watermelon eating contest, a huge parade with plenty of queens and several marching bands from nearby high schools. Of course, there was a beauty pageant with the evening entertainment beforehand being a speaker from Clemson College Extension Service. A street dance followed featuring the live band, Whitaker's Whirling Whangdoodlers.
The festival grew fast, as the second annual event laid host to 15,000 parade watchers. The festival continued to grow each year and surrounding towns began entering floats in the parade in 1953. Fund raising became important with the growth. By 1955, the crowd was estimated at 40,000 for the entire event and the Water Shed hosted one of its first shows.