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The Weekend: Big festivals and hot times

Big John Mills.

Scene Editor

June is National Candy Month. One hardly needs to encourage people to eat candy, but it’s certainly nice to have a national excuse to eat it. Candy is often considered a childhood obsession and a guilty pleasure for adults.

However, lest you think candy is a guilty pleasure, here is some news that may shock you. Two scientists in the Department of Epidemiology at the Harvard School of Public Health found that consumption of candy is associated with greater longevity.

They also stated that non-consumers of candy not only had shorter lives than their candy-consuming brethren, but they had the highest mortality rate in the study. You are more likely to die young from not eating candy. No kidding. That’s right, the leanest participants in the study died first and died younger.

However, over-consumption of candy is not that much better for health. Subjects who had a moderate amount of candy consumption (1-3 times a month) lived the longest. Moderation, as in most things, is the key.

The Danes have the highest rate of candy consumption in the world. The Swiss eat more chocolate than anybody else. Despite our lagging behind these countries in consumption, candy is an $8 billion dollar per year industry here in America.

It might be heartening to remember that much of that $8 billion was generated 70 cents at a time. It’s amazing how a little perseverance can create millions.

Plus, it tastes good. So before the month is over, go get yourself a role of Necco wafers or a Zero Bar and live a little. It could help you to live longer.

While you are noshing on your Zagnut or Chick O Stix, take a glance at all the sweet treats that abound for the weekend:

Friday, June 26

Today is the second day of that four-day extravaganza known as the Luling Watermelon Thump. Renowned the world over, the Thump is more than just watermelon eating and seed spitting contests. All day today there are jugglers, magicians and carnival rides. There is a large selection of edible delights, arts and crafts.

Tonight features the kid’s seed spitting events. There is a dedicated “spit way” for the seed spitting contests, which start at 5 p.m. The age groupings include even one-year-olds, if you think your toddler can out spit a five-year-old who is in the same grouping.

Kyle Park and Kevin Fowler will be on the music stage tonight starting at 8:30 p.m. And, of course, delightful cups of cold watermelon slices will be served throughout the day. And what is better than ice-cold watermelon to beat this heat?

San Marcos is also not without its renowned festivals this weekend. BIGfest starts at the Cheatham Street Warehouse (119 Cheatham Street) today. The three-day event benefits the non-profit Cheatham Street Warehouse Foundation and features notable musicians from all over.

More than 100 musicians will be there over the course of the festival. BIGfest celebrates both the 35th anniversary of the Cheatham Street Warehouse and the inimitable Big John Mills’ birthday.

Some of today’s artists include Cody Riley, Cody Rosier, Trevor Cole, Kevin Higgins, Forest Wayne Allen, Southside Union, HalleyAnna, Doctor G. & The Mudcats, Shelley King, Brandon Jenkins and Texas Renegade. The music starts at 4 p.m. Tickets are available online or at the door for a donation.

BIGfest has a load more performers to boot. Check the scene calendar listing for specifics on artists and times.

The Wimberley VFW Post (Veteran’s Park on Jacobs Well Road) has Friday Night Bingo, a weekly event that benefits the VFW’s many endeavors and churns out a lot of fun. The cage starts rolling at 6:30 p.m.

Ben Tyler Johnson will be playing at Wake the Dead (1432 RR 12) at 8 p.m. and Doug Warriner and his Only Band will be at Riley’s (8894 FM 1102) playing their charming danceable Western swing tunes at 9 p.m.

The Triple Crown features an embarrassment of musical riches with three outstanding bands. San Antonio’s In and Outlaws, Houston’s Flamin’ Hellcats and San Marcos’ own Crystal Creek Boys each would be awesome to see individually, but when you put the rockin’ rockabilly of In and Outlaws with the rompin’ and stompin’ of the Flamin’ Hellcats and add the bluegrassy brilliance of the Crystal Creek Boys, you are in for a real treat!

Saturday, June 27

It’s day three of Luling’s Watermelon Thump, starting with a 5K run at 8 a.m. and the big parade at 10 a.m. The parade can last an hour what with all the floats and the Thump Queen, and all so bring a lawn chair and find a spot along the parade route. You can find it at watermelonthump.com.

At 1 p.m., the watermelon-eating contest begins in the Thump Pavilion and 5:30 p.m. the Word Championship Seed Spitting Contest starts in Spitway Pavilion. If a participant can break the record set at Luling and registered in the Guinness Book of World Records (68 feet 9 1/2 inches) he or she will win an additional $500 added to the $500 first prize. And your mom told you spitting was bad!

On the main stage at 7 p.m., Texas Renegade will open for Stoney Larue. Oh, and there will be lots of luscious watermelon to eat all day long!

BIGfest continues today at the Cheatham Street Warehouse with a plethora of musical talent. Some of the artists featured this afternoon include Missoula Slim, the extraordinary Javi Garcia and the ever-popular Grant Ewing, Jordan Minor and many more. In the evening, the weather may cool a tad, but the music will be hot with Big John Mills and the Texas Road Dawgs, Walt Wilkins and the Mistiqeros and Ronny Corbin and Pirate Radio just to name a few.

Radio Free Texas will also broadcast much of BIGfest live.

Tantra has an assortment of organic fruits and veggies for sale from noon to 4 p.m. The wares often include fresh eggs, flowers and loofah. They make a very good cup of coffee too!

The Collective Art Studio and Gallery in Wimberley (411 River Road) will feature “Music on the Lawn” today from 1-3 p.m. with Los Jackalopes. Bring a cooler with a few refreshments and something to sit on for this free concert.

Today’s weather might convince you that a leisurely ride down the river on a big inner tube might be a wonderful idea. Go to City Park, rent a tube from the Lions Club Tube Rental and let them pick you up after your refreshing ride on the shuttle. Don’t forget to pick up your trash, though. That river is too precious to be littered with junk!

Even more family fun can be had at Wonder World Park (1000 Prospect Street) where the Balcones Fault Line Cave is cool in temperature and just plain cool to see. It’s the only true example of an earthquake-formed cave in the country. There’s also the Tejas Observation Tower and the Anti-Gravity House, where even the water flows uphill! If you take the train, you’ll get splashed riding through waterfalls on your way to the Texas Wildlife Petting Park.

Free parking and free picnic grounds make this a wonderful fun and educational day out for your whole crew. It’s amazing how many San Marcans have never been to this delightful park right in their own home town!

All About Image Gallery (14500 RR 12, Suite 16) in Wimberley is presenting “4 Lenses That Make Us All Artists” facilitated by Dr. Will Taegel and Dr. Judith Yost. Join in a lively discussion with artists about their work in a variety of mediums. The even is free and starts at 7:30 p.m.

Riley’s showcases Weldon Henson tonight and The Triple Crown welcomes Winter Dance Party, Boxcar Satan and Blackwater Revival.

Sunday, June 28

The Luling Watermelon Thump winds up its four-day bash with the Thump Car Show starting at noon and free grounds admission all day. The entertainment on the main stage is free today and features Lance Lipinsky and Johnny D and the Rocket  88s.

There are kiddie rides, amusements galore and the Adult Team Seed Spitting Contest as well as plenty of cold, sweet, delicious watermelon to enjoy!

Wake the Dead has a fruit and veggie stand today from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. They also make a good cup of Joe. Stay a little longer and get a relaxing Chair Massage from Bob Steine from 4-8 p.m.

BIGfest ends with a big bang today. Great musicians and songwriters begin performing at noon. The multi-talented Kent Finlay is on the bill today, as well as solo gigs by Dr. G and Big John Mills. Later on, Jason Marbach and Barbarosa will play as well as Tim Fralic, Brett Crenshaw and John Arthur Martinez. The evening closes out at midnight with Wes Nixon followed by the Jeremy Stedling Band.

The Wine Cellar has another remarkable Reader’s Theatre production starting at 4 p.m. Love Letters by A.R. Gurney is a play full of poignant bittersweetness and charming humor. The event is free, but reservations are required, so call (512) 805-9463 to do so. Light hors d’oeuvres will be served at the play, a prefect precursor to dinner at the Wine Cellar afterwards, if you so choose. Now that sounds like a great evening!

It’s Chess Night at Wake the Dead Coffee House tonight at 7 p.m. You can’t play chess with death like Ingmar Begman envisioned, but you can play chess at Wake the Dead. This, by the way, is a much safer place to get a chess partner!

The mics are open tonight at both Riley’s and the Triple Crown. This is a perfect time to polish up that act before you take it on the road.

If you just feel like staying home tonight with some popcorn and a tall frosty glass of sweet tea, TCM is featuring two classic delights. The Philadelphia Story not only revived Katherine Hepburn’s film career but also provided moviegoers with a remarkably well-written script (adapted by Algonquin roundtable alum Donald Ogden Stewart from the Phillip Barry play) and a good vehicle for the talents of Cary Grant and Jimmy Stuart. The Women was written by Claire Booth Luce, journalist, playwright, one-time member of Congress and once Ambassador to Italy. The movie has some of the snappiest and snarkiest dialog ever recorded on film. The entire cast puts in great performances from Norma Shearer to Joan Crawford. Paulette Goddard is, as usual, a standout.

Might be a good time to enjoy a little more candy to keep you healthy and celebrate the month, too!