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'Watermelon Crawl': The Story Behind Tracy Byrd's Party-Starter

Throughout his successful career in country music, Tracy Byrd has proven himself to be a versatile singer. He can keep it real ("The Keeper of the Stars") just as well as he can get silly ("Lifestyles of the Not So Rich and Famous"). The latter was true on Byrd's second hit, which got Americans dancing the "Watermelon Crawl."

The song was written by Buddy Brock and Zack Turner. It's the second single from Byrd's sophomore album No Ordinary Man. It hit No. 4 in the United States and No. 8 in Canada. It even spawned a dance remix that crossed over to pop radio, where it hit No. 81 on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100.

Both the song and the music video, directed by Michael Merriman, describe the adventures of a man who pulls off the road at a small town in Georgia when he sees a homemade sign for the Rhine County Watermelon Festival. The festival has all the things you'd expect: live music, seed spitting, an eating contest, a welcome speech from the mayor and -- of course- red wine made from watermelons. The mayor encourages everyone to follow the law. Instead of drinking and driving, they should stay a while and do a line-dancing routine called "The Watermelon Crawl."

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As it turns out, there really is a watermelon festival in Georgia: the annual Watermelon Days Festival in Crisp County, Georgia which started in 1949. However, the video was shot in McEwen, Tennessee, at the Irish Picnic Fairgrounds.

This story first ran in 2018.

"Watermelon Crawl" Lyrics

I was drivin' through Georgia in late July
On a day hot enough to make the devil sigh
I saw a homemade sign written in red
Rhine County Watermelon Festival ahead

Well, I wasn't in a hurry so I slowed down
Took a two lane road to a one horse town
There was a party goin' on when I got there
I heard a welcome speech from a small town mayor

He said we got a hundred gallons of sweet red wine
Made from the biggest watermelons on the vine
Help yourself to some, but obey the law if you drink
Don't drive do the watermelon crawl

When the band started playin the Watermelon Queen
Said let me show you somethin' that you ain't ever seen
She grabbed me by the arm said come on lets go
She dipped down, spun around, and do-see-doed

She rocked back on her heels dropped down to her knees
She crawled across the floor and jumped back to her feet
She wiggled and she giggled and be all you ever saw
She said this is how you do the Watermelon Crawl

He said we got a hundred gallons of sweet red wine
Made from the biggest watermelons on the vine
Help yourself to some, but obey the law if you drink
Don't drive do the Watermelon Crawl

If you're ever down in Georgia around about July
If you ain't in a hurry then you ought to stop by
I can guarantee that you're goin have a ball
Learnin' how to do the Watermelon Crawl

He said we got a hundred gallons of sweet red wine
Made from the biggest watermelons on the vine
Help yourself to some, but obey the law if you drink
Don't drive do the Watermelon Crawl

Yeah do the Watermelon Crawl

Have fun you all

Do the watermelon Crawl

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'Watermelon Crawl': The Story Behind Tracy Byrd's Party-Starter