FC Chamber cancels 2020 Watermelon Festival

The coronavirus has claimed another victim. As the case count in Franklin County rose to 737 as of Tuesday afternoon, and the state rose to 26,524, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce made a decision about the county’s beloved Watermelon Festival.

“Everybody is aware of the unprecedented times that we are in with the COVID-19,” said chamber executive director Cassie Medley in a statement Tuesday afternoon. “After consulting with Russellville city officials, the Franklin County Health Department and the Alabama Department of Public Health, and with their guidance, the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce’s board of directors has reluctantly decided to cancel this year’s 40th Annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival scheduled for Aug. 21-22 and the Watermelon Pageant scheduled for July 18.”

Medley said the chamber was hoping that by now Franklin County’s numbers would be leveling instead of increasing.

“Since the numbers are growing, it is in the best interest for the safety and health of our volunteers, vendors and festival guests to cancel this year,” Medley said. “We anticipate the virus being a memory of 2020, and we will be able to hold the 40th Franklin County Watermelon Festival Aug. 20-21, 2021. In the meantime, we will be praying for our county and our country.”

The county can, however, look forward to a consolation event.

Medley said in anticipation of numbers leveling and decreasing over the next months, the Franklin County Chamber is planning a new event for October.

“Look for details on our website, www.franklincountychamber.org, Facebook and Instagram in the near future,” Medley said.

“May God bless you and our country.”