The 40th annual Hope Watermelon Festival gets under way this week through the weekend, August 11-13, 2016 in Hope, Ark. One of the featured attractions of the festival is the 8th annual Watermelon Idol Talent Contest. Festival staff is now searching for unique talent right here in the Four States area and it's still not too late to enter the competition.

The contest preliminaries will be held Thursday August 11, on the Hope Auto/Farmers Bank stage in front of the coliseum at 6PM. The finals will be held at 6PM Saturday, August 13, on the CMC Steel Products stage prior to the Oak Ridge Boys concert with the winner opening for the Oak Ridge Boys on Saturday evening.

The contest is open to all singers or vocal groups regardless of age or residency.

Previous Watermelon Idol winners are not eligible. There are two divisions, single vocal or vocal group. Individuals may only enter in one category. Acts are limited to five minutes each and entrants may perform with a pre-recorded instrumental track, acapella, or with live instrumental backing. The preliminaries are open to 30 applicants.

The top five in each division will be selected for the finals. A cash prize of $300 will be awarded to the overall winner of the finals with $150 awarded to the runner-up and $50 to the third-place finisher.

Entries will be accepted through Thursday, August 11 at 5:30PM. Registration forms are available at HopeMelonfest.com or at the Hope/Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce office at 202 South Main in downtown Hope.

For information call the Chamber at 870-777-3640.