NEOSHO, Mo. — A Southwest Missouri tradition continued tonight (7/26) in Neosho: One that brought together members of the community, political candidates and watermelon.

The annual free watermelon feed took place at Big Spring Park, near downtown Neosho.

Hundreds of people braved the triple digit temperature to come out and hear what candidates had to say, leading up to next Tuesday’s primary election in Missouri.

10 uncontested candidates were on hand to mingle with the public and answer questions, while 20 candidates in contested Republican races each got three minutes in front of a microphone.

This event has been going on for more than 30 years.

“I’m on a heartland tour going through multiple counties and I’ve been out in this state for the last year and a half because I care about people. I’m a work horse not a show horse and I want to reverse the pain that has been inflicted by the Democrats and turn things around,” said Vicky Hartzler, (R-MO) U.S. Senate Candidate.

“There’s a lot of Republican votes here, in the Primary, which is what we’re going to do next Tuesday, and in the General which is what we will be doing in November. So it’s important that the candidates come here and recognize that. We have good voters here and interested voters,” said Newton County Republican Central Committee Chairman, Nick Myers.

The event is co-hosted by the Newton County Republican Central Committee and Republican Women of Newton County.