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Timmy Reidy enjoys wedge of Chiefland watermelon
Timmy Reidy enjoys wedge of Chiefland watermelon

Chiefland Watermelon Festival

In the heart of Florida's watermelon district, Chiefland has celebrated the importance of the agriculture, and especially the locally grown melon, since 1954. Held in June, this one-day festival includes arts and crafts exhibitors, and children's activities, such as the Greased Pole and the Seed Spitting contests. Free cold watermelon, donated by local growers, is served by Civitan members and other volunteers throughout the day. The festival parade is made up of floats with a watermelon theme, high schools bands, fire engines, and cars chauffeuring contestants of the Watermelon Festival Queen contest.

Local growers enter their biggest and best melons in the watermelon weighing contest, conducted in three categories. Following the awards ceremony, the delicious entries are auctioned off. Their proceeds help pay for festival expenses. Children's activities are a special part of the festival. The Little King and Queen Contest, organized by the Chiefland Woman's Club, is for youngsters between three and five years old. Each year, 20 to 30 pre-school children dress up and parade in front of an auditorium full of proud relatives and friends. The festival is sponsored by Chiefland Activities Incorporated, which consists of the Civitans and the Chiefland Woman's Club.

The Chiefland Civic Club created the festival to celebrate the city's new streets and sidewalks, the watermelon farmers, and to bring the community together in a family day celebration. In those days, the rural community of Chiefland was so small that most residents knew each other. As the town has grown, the annual festival remains one of the best experiences that keep the small town spirit alive.

Documentation includes a text report, photos and a festival program.

Originally submitted by: Karen L. Thurman, Representative (5th District).

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The Local Legacies project provides a "snapshot" of American Culture as it was expressed in spring of 2000. Consequently, it is not being updated with new or revised information with the exception of "Related Website" links.

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