Newberry Watermelon Festival crowns new queen

Newberry's outgoing Watermelon Festival Queen Kensley Durrance (left) with the newly-crowned Tori Mills.
Courtesy of Newberry Watermelon Festival

The annual Newberry Watermelon Festival crowned a new Watermelon Queen on Saturday.  

Tori Mills was crowned as the beauty pageant winner for 2023 Newberry Watermelon Festival. For a year, she will perform duties in the community.  

The annual agricultural event was held for the 78th year and is one of the oldest continual watermelon festivals in the country.  

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The festival’s mission is to support local educational programs for children. This year, due to the generosity of sponsors, the festival awarded seven seniors $1,000 each. Two of the students were in vocational programs.  

This year, the festival celebrated lifelong member of the “watermelon team,” Keith “Skeets” McKoys, who was honored by having two scholarships given in his name.  

The Newberry Watermelon Festival began as a thank you to the agricultural community in Newberry. Each year since 1946, the community has gathered to celebrate by eating food, pageant, watermelon auctions, and beauty pageants. The event brings in approximately 6,000 people each year.  

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