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A couple of attendees enjoy the 2019 Watermelon Festival. Planning for this year’s festival is ongoing.

Watermelon Festival planning continues

Despite the unknowns of the COVID-19 pandemic, planning is continuing as usual for the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce Watermelon Festival.

Set for Aug. 21-22, this year’s event will be the 40th Annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival. Festival activities will include traditional favorites like the Watermelon Festival Pageant, 5K Run, Car & Truck Show, Tractor Show and other contests.

“The Watermelon Festival brings Franklin County and neighboring counties and states together,” said Franklin County Chamber of Commerce director Cassie Medley. “It is a family reunion of sorts.”

Medley said right now the Chamber of Commerce is continuing to plan all events for the Watermelon Festival as usual but is making sure to use caution.

“The Chamber office and Board of Directors are keeping up to date with information from the CDC and Gov. Ivey,” Medley said.  “If necessary precautions are needed, those precautions will be given prior to the festival.”    

Medley said the chamber is making sure to keep the health and safety of attendees, vendors, entertainers and volunteers in mind as decisions are made in planning the Watermelon Festival.

The Watermelon Festival is a huge tradition in Franklin County, and Medley said it is key for generating revenue for the county each year.

“The impact of not having the Watermelon Festival would be detrimental, in that it affects local business sales, the city and county taxes collected, vendors’ livelihoods and the Chamber’s annual budgeted revenue,” Medley said.

She said in addition to bringing a positive impact on the local economy, the festival is also a way to showcase local talent and fundraise for local organizations.

Medley said there is still no date for when details will be announced for the music line-up, but she expects T-shirts for the event to be available soon.

Russellville Mayor David Grissom said he loves seeing all of the people the Watermelon Festival brings into Russellville each year.

“It’s just a good overall family event that everyone can come together and enjoy,” Grissom said. “It is great for our county, our city and our local economy.”

Grissom said although there is a lot of work that goes into the Watermelon Festival, it always ends up being a great event that is worth the work.

“Everyone works hard and comes together to make it happen,” Grissom said. “We love it and look forward to it each year.”

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