watermelon

A new bill in the Legislature would revoke the watermelon's status as Oklahoma's official state vegetable because it is a fruit. MICHAEL WYKE/Tulsa World file

OKLAHOMA CITY — Watermelon may soon be on its way out as Oklahoma’s official state vegetable.

Sen. Nathan Dahm, R-Broken Arrow, has filed Senate Bill 329 to revoke its designation, saying watermelon is a fruit, not a vegetable.

Legislation passed in 2007 designated the juicy melon as the state’s official vegetable, thanks to then-Rep. Joe Dorman’s House Bill 1669.

Dorman, D-Rush Springs, is a big supporter of the annual watermelon festival held the second Saturday in August in his hometown. He said passage of HB 1669 resulted in increased attendance and sales.

“We will defend, support and make sure it is upheld as the state vegetable for Oklahoma,” said Rep. Scooter Park, R-Devol, Dorman’s replacement in House District 65.

He said the state has a lot of issues that are more important than repealing the act making watermelon the state vegetable.

The state fruit label isn’t available because the strawberry has already secured that lofty status.

But Dahm is also considering giving the watermelon another chance.

He said it could be named the state’s seasonal fruit or the state’s melon.

Other state emblems appear to be safe, for now. They include the honeybee as the state insect and the Mexican free-tailed bat as the state’s flying mammal.

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Barbara Hoberock 405-528-2465

barbara.hoberock@tulsaworld.com

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