History of Watermelon Days


Thurston was first named Flourney RR Station and in 1894. The name was changed in honor of Senator John M. Thurston in 1905. The 100th year centennial was held in 1995.

In 1922 a Volunteer Fire Department was organized in Thurston and in 1929 they became the sponsors of the first Watermelon Days Celebration. In the 1930's the celebration was stopped because of the war. A few years later the celebration started again, but stopped again in 1942 because of WWII. The celebration was started again in 1960, this time sponsored by the American Legion and Auxillary.

In the early years they would give away as many as 600 to 800 watermelons during the celebration. An annual buffalo feed began and quickly grew to over 1300 in attendance, forcing the feed to discontinue due to the rising costs of buffalo meat.

Watch around town for the shadow boxes wich contain pictures, some memorbilia and fun history information about Thurston and Watermelon Days.

  • The first issue of the Thurston Gazette was published on Oct. 6, 1905.
At various times the Watermelon Days celebration has been supported by a hotel(1905), banks(1905), an Idian Agency, a Hardware Store(1905) a livery barn, a saloon, a school house, a general store(1913), a depot(1892), a stock yard, four elevators(1907), a blacksmith's shop, a barber shop, a post office(1886), a doctor's office, American Legion Hall(1956), cafe and candy store, a butcher shop, a feed business, a locker(1961), a service station(1956), a fertilizer plant(1965), a bakery(1905), a newspaper(1894), and a drug store(1905). Also, by a dance hall, pool hall, a garage, an Electronics Company(1950), churches(1905), a Manufacturing Plant(1972), a fire house and jail, a park, a grain and lumber company, a meat maker, a photography studio, an opera house, a lawn service business and many, many more throughout the years.

Organizations that have helped out over the years include a Musical Band(1900's), Arg-u-Nots(1939), Better Homes Group (1953), Young Women of Today, Benefit Youth Group(1949), Green Thumbs(1950), Legion Auxillary, American Legion, Volunteer Fire Department, Thurston Firettes(1976), Neighborhood Club(1937), Tin Roof Twirlers, C.I.T., Junior League(1946), Camp Fire Girls, Girl Scouts Boy Scouts, Thurston School Boosters(1959) and many, many more!