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melons for moolah

Melons for Moolah Watermelon Festival

July 6, 2019 @ 3:00 PM 10:00 PM

Proceeds from the event benefit the Safety Harbor Public Library’s 20/20 Vision Campaign. There is no admission fee but there will be a small charge for some elements of the event (waterslides, home brew biergarten, etc.) which will benefit other Safety Harbor non-profit organizations. Vendors will have items for sale, too.

Melons for Moolah

(727) 314-5664


Waterfront Park

110 Veterans Memorial LaneFL 34695
Safety Harbor, FL 34695 United States
+ Google Map

Watermelon Week Pub & Restaurant Crawl

Proceeds benefit the Safety Harbor Library Foundation

July 3, 2019 @ 5:00 PM 11:30 PM

“(O)n July 3, also join us as we walk through beautiful Downtown Safety Harbor sampling those creations our WatermelonWeek participants! No tickets or pre-registration necessary – just show up and pay for whatever food and drinks you want! A schedule and more details will be posted later, but here’s the link to the website with participating establishments: https://melonsformoolah.com/watermelonweek/” (Melons for Moolah/Facebook)

Melons for Moolah

(727) 314-5664


Safety Harbor

Safety Harbor, 34695 United States + Google Map

Melons for Moolah keeps its fundraising roots, expands to full-day festival

in events

Melons for Moolah, the event that broke a Guinness World Record for Safety Harbor in 2018, expands to a full day of family friendly fun in Safety Harbor Waterfront Park on July 6 this year.

This Melons for Moolah Watermelon Festival with free admission will benefit the Safety Harbor Library Foundation’s 20/20 Vision Campaign. Other local nonprofits will host carnival games and keep the proceeds for their own causes.

Fundraising has always been the seed of Melons for Moolah. It was created in the summer of 2017 by Scott Long, who then was a Safety Harbor City Commissioner. The first event was at the Gazebo on July 2, 2017, and featured the Mayor, all four Commissioners and five other local personalities eating watermelon.

“The idea was silly fun — asking Commissioners to eat watermelon,” said Long, who calls himself Chief Melon Officer. “But the goal was to use their stature in the community to raise money and awareness for nonprofit organizations.”

And it worked.

The event raised more than $7,500 for the non-profits the celebrity eaters chose: the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation, Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Harbor Dish, the Ian Tillman Foundation, the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center,  Paint Your Heart Out Safety Harbor, the Safety Harbor Public Library Foundation, the Safety Harbor Museum and the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce Foundation.

So many people asked to participate after the event that it was expanded in 2018 to attempt to break the Guinness World Record for “Largest Watermelon-Eating Contest.” On July 1, 2018, at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park, 259 official participants, aided by more than 100 volunteers, officially set the new World Record in the City of Safety Harbor’s name and raised more than $14,000 for various causes, including a trust fund to care for the daughter of Safety Harbor District Fire Chief Chris Palmieri, who had died less than two weeks before the event.

Other groups that benefited from the event were Autism Speaks, the Chi Chi Rodriguez Youth Foundation, Florida Sheriff’s Youth Ranches, Fostering Hope Florida, Habitat for Humanity, the Mattie Williams Neighborhood Family Center, Paint Your Heart Out Safety Harbor, Pawlicious Poochie Pet Rescue, the Safety Harbor Public Library Foundation, the Safety Harbor Museum, the Safety Harbor Chamber of Commerce Foundation and the SPCA Suncoast.

Scott Long and Cara Nobles practice for the big event. (Photo/Laura Long)

“For about 30 minutes, our often-divided city was ‘One Safety Harbor,’ and that’s the memory I’ll always have of that event. Breaking a World Record is a fantastic achievement, but the togetherness of the community was even more important to me,” Long said.

This year’s event won’t break a Guinness World Record, but it is unlike any other festival in town. Melons for Moolah and Safety Harbor Library Public Foundation Board Member Cara Nobles is putting together an array of contests — from watermelon seed-spitting to a balloon toss — for all ages to participate.

“We laughed so hard during our trial run (pictured) of these games,” Nobles said. “Seed spitting isn’t as gross as it sounds and actually requires a great amount of strategy. But the Watermelon Ball Relay Race is by far our favorite.”

There will be plenty of fun for all ages, including three inflatable water slides, food trucks, beer and wine, and the movie.

This year’s details

  • 3-10 p.m. Saturday, July 6, at Safety Harbor Waterfront Park. Admission is free.
  • Website: https://melonsformoolah.com/
  • Benefits the Safety Harbor Public Library Foundation’s 20/20 Vision Campaign, which has a goal of raising $500,000 to furnish the future second story addition to the library.
  • Rain or shine
  • Presenting sponsor is LocalShops1, an organization in Pinellas County that promotes supporting locally-owned and independent businesses. Other featured sponsors include Blake Real Estate, Gigglewaters Social Club & Screening Room, Seadog Cottages, Action Pro Realty and IERNA’s Heating, Cooling & Plumbing.
  • Sunstar will have a full medical tent on site.


  • Kids Zone for ages 14 and younger with three large water slides ($5 bracelet for unlimited rides), free martial arts classes and prizes from Victory Martial Arts, kids crafts from Francie’s Studio on 5th, the Clearwater Threshers Fun Team and mascot Phinley and carnival games run by local nonprofit organizations, who will keep  the proceeds from their games.
  • Home Brew Biergarten for those 21 and older, featuring complimentary samples of 20 home brews from 12 home brewers from around the Tampa Bay region, as well as Crooked Thumb Brewery beer and wine for sale.
  • DJ entertainment and watermelon-themed contests, including Watermelon Eating, Seed Spitting, Relay Race, Water Balloon Toss and Costume/Outfit.
  • Family-friendly cult classic movie “Goonies” on a 25-foot screen at 8 p.m.
  • Plenty of food, including watermelon wedges to support The Harbor Dish, drink and craft and product vendors.
  • Yankee raffles, silent auctions and a 50/50 drawing. Highlights include a 7-night cruise for two and the melon ballers used in last year’s World Record-breaking event with Certificates of Authenticity.
  • Volunteers get free T-shirts commemorating last year’s World Record, and those who volunteer in the Kids Zone also get free water slide bracelets for their children.

“Our team tried hard to make this a festival that would appeal to everyone in some way,” Long said. “We’re excited about the positive response we are getting. More than 1,200 people have expressed interest on our Facebook event already.”

And that’s not all. Melons for Moolah will host WatermelonWeek with downtown businesses the week leading up to the event.


WatermelonWeek is June 29 to July 5 to promote the event and downtown businesses. Safety Harbor restaurants and bars are creating watermelon-inspired dishes, drinks or desserts and pledging a portion of each sale to the Library Foundation.

There will be an online vote to choose the winner in each division, and there will be a Pub & Restaurant Crawl on July 3 to visit all participating locations that are open in the evening.

“Safety Harbor restaurants and bars love to compete and help their community,” Long said. “The creativity we’ve seen in entries already is outstanding. We hope WatermelonWeek will drive business to all of the participating establishments and raise even more money for the Library Foundation.”

Laura and her husband Scott Long are organizers of Melons for Moolah and Watermelon Week. Cara Nobles is a member of the of the Library Foundation Board and the Melons for Moolah Planning Board.

Commission Notes: June 17, 2019

in city hall/news
Safety Harbor City Hall (Photo/Kathryn Malaxos)

Tree ordinance presentation

Tanja Vidovic presented a proposal to strengthen Safety Harbor’s tree ordinance (see excerpt from email sent to Commission). Residents shared support for this idea, including: Carol MacNamee, who noted that the 2015 ordinance set a minimum standard and that Safety Harbor currently has just one class of “protected” tree, whereas other municipalities have more categories of protected trees; Cherie Moscardini who shared a situation wherein a tree was killed, apparently through extensive cutback, without any penalty; Heather Richardson who noted that “trees are even more important than ever, especially with our climate change issues.” Commissioner Zodrow reflected that the 2015 ordinance was a compromise that “needs to be beefed up.” He expressed the need for citizen involvement to insure a stronger ordinance. City Manager Matt Spoor noted that the Commission made changes to the 2015 ordinance, including the addition of fines, in 2016 and 2018. Commissioner Cliff Merz, noting the importance of the ordinance, suggested the city include it with updates made over time on the city website.

Additional public comment

Scott Long shared information about Watermelon Week and Melons for Moolah, a July 6 fundraiser for the Safety Harbor Public Library Foundation’s 20/20 Vision Campaign.

Joanne Fisher thanked the city for the support given to her family and Brady’s BBQ and for remembering Brady with planned artwork.

Recognition of Retiree Leonard DeGroat

Leonard DeGroat was recognized upon his retirement after 37 years of service to the city.

Consent Agenda

Consent Agenda items (approval of June 3 minutes, approval of a purchase order to Kamminga and Roodvoets for MLK/Powhatan sewer line replacement project, awarding of contract to Augustine Construction for Main Street intersection brick repair, award for purchase of brick from Oldcastle for brick street repair) approved, 5-0.

Ready for 100

Supporters of the City’s Ready for 100 Resolution, identified by yellow stickers on their shirts, packed City Hall. Public comment on the Resolution was overwhelmingly positive.

Brian Beckman of the Suncoast Sierra Club, who initially presented Ready for 100 to the Commission on May 20, answered questions regarding transportation issues, potential grants available, status of other local municipalities’ plans, and goal dates for the cities and communities. Commissioner Zodrow suggested addition of a clause pertaining to environmental justice in order to provide support for lower income households’ and marginalized communities’ participation in the Ready for 100 initiative.

After discussion, the Commission passed the Ready for 100 Resolution without addition of the environmental justice language but with addition of a 2050 goal date.

Asked if other cities include environmental justice in their plans, Brian Beckman said cities are encouraged to do so and shared Dunedin’s Resolution language that encompasses environmental justice: “The City of Dunedin, in pursuit of these targets, will seek to build inclusive community leadership, policy engagement, and provide regional leadership to address equity in climate and energy.”

New business

The Commission denied (5-0) request for a waiver to the land development code (Article VI Community Redevelopment District, Section 100.00 Waivers) due to technical impracticality, one of the allowable reasons for granting a waiver. The request was to increase lot coverage from 35% to 41% on a 5000 square foot lot. Residents presented a petition and spoke in opposition to the waiver.

The Commission approved 5-0, on first reading, change in land use and rezoning for an addition to Folly Farms at 1538 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd.

The Commission approved 5-0, on first reading, change in land use and rezoning for expansion of the Public Works compound east of 2157 Railroad Ave.

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