First Rush Springs Watermelon Festival was in 1940

 The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival has been held continuously since 1948 but actually had its beginning in 1940 and has become one of the most popular festivals in the state. The Festival was held in 1940,1941 and 1942 but discontinued for five years because of World War II. The Festival resumed in 1948. This year marks the 76th year for the Festival which has continually been sponsored by the Rush Springs Lions Club.
 Ada Mae (Tims) English was the first watermelon queen. Oklahoma Governor, Leon C. Phillips, had the honor of crowning her. The crowning took place in the school auditorium as the festivities that night were rained out in the park and everyone moved inside.
 The festival began as a hometown event with a crowd estimated at 4,000 gathered in the park that evening for the closing activities which included serving free watermelon. Rossler F. Henton was the first festival chairman. He, along with R.O. Gibbs and “Pop” Eitelman, were committee members who worked out the details for the community event. That year, the Rush Springs Gazette stated, “Rush Springs is Oklahoma’s leading watermelon shipping point” and the oldest CCC Camp (Civilian Conservation Corps) in the state is located in the Rush Springs city park.”
 The Festival has proven popular since its beginning and has gained state and even national notoriety. The crowds have increased in number to around 20,000 to 30,000 visitors each year. Over 50,000 pounds of watermelons are purchased from area melon growers and served to festival visitors during the day. Visitors come from almost every state in the union and even several foreign countries to enjoy the festivities.