Florida produces more watermelons than any other state, and we are the only state that grows watermelons during the “off” season, from December to April. Some years Florida is responsible for up to 17 percent of US watermelon production. We love our watermelons, and we love our summer festivals! Luckily, we have several great watermelon festivals across the state to celebrate this delicious, nutritious fruit and the farmers who grow it.
Chiefland Watermelon Festival
The Chiefland’s Woman’s Club has been hosting a Watermelon Festival for 65 years. The 2019 festival was held on June 1, and includes craft and food vendors and free all-you-can-eat watermelon.
A highlight of the festival is the crowning of the watermelon queen. Her majesty makes special appearances throughout the year at schools, grocery stores, and fairs.
Each year, the biggest melon wins a prize. Competitive folks show off their seed-spitting skills in the spitting contest. Festival-goers also enjoy live music and a downtown parade.
Monticello Watermelon Festival
Over the weekend of June 13-15, the town of Monticello celebrates its 69th annual Watermelon Festival. The festival kicks off with a Women’s Club luncheon and fashion show on Thursday. Friday night, there is a Rotary Club BBQ dinner and multiple dance performances. Saturday morning begins with a pancake breakfast and a 5k run. Later, a parade makes its way through town.
Car enthusiasts will enjoy the antique car show, while the young and the young-at-heart indulge their playful sides with watermelon games. Bring your four-legged friend to participate in the Ultimate Air Dogs competition, where pups compete in a long-jump contest.
Clay County Watermelon Festival
On June 22-23, Clay County will host its free Clay County Watermelon Festival. This fest has tons of kid-friendly activities, including a bounce house, a waterslide, face-painting, sack-racing, train rides, and a petting farm. Test your watermelon tolerance in the watermelon-eating contest, and try to spit your seeds farther than other competitors in the seed-spitting contest.
Adventurous gourmets should be on the lookout for watermelon fudge, and enjoy offerings from other food vendors. There will be watermelon-themed games, a cutest-baby contest, and plenty of ice-cold watermelon. If you’re over 21, try the watermelon-wine slush!
Panhandle Watermelon Festival
The 63rd Panhandle Watermelon Festival will be held in Chipley, Florida, June 28th and 29th. The festival began in 1956 as a free celebration to honor fieldworkers who grew and picked watermelons. Since then, festival attendance has grown from about 100 people to last year’s record breaking crowd of 7,000!
Festivities start early on Saturday morning, with the Hot Trot, a 5K and kids fun run. In addition to the 5k and fun-run, Panhandle Technical College plays host to an antique car show. The Shrine Club offers a Saturday morning pancake breakfast. Be sure to stick around as the Watermelon Parade marches through downtown later in the morning.
The free festival offers live music, food and craft vendors, and a fundraising auction to keep next year’s festival free.
Are You a Watermelon Farmer?
Watermelon farming can be risky business. Florida saw rounds of inclement weather this spring. As a result, hundreds of acres of watermelon plants were damaged in north central Florida. Protect your watermelon crop with farm insurance. Contact a local Florida Farm Bureau agent today.