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The Panhandle Watermelon Festival is coming back in June

Published: Apr. 26, 2021 at 9:48 PM CDT
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CHIPLEY, Fla. (WJHG/WECP) - An area summertime favorite is coming back this year, and apparently locals are ready for it.

The Panhandle Watermelon Festival in Chipley was canceled last year because of the pandemic. Watermelon Festival Chairman Colby Peel said it was a tough decision but necessary for the protection of the community.

”We had to make that decision well prior to June, not knowing what the pandemic was going to do but looking back on it now we are certainly comfortable that we made the right decision,” Peel said.

That was the first time in its 63 year history the festival was canceled. Chipley residents say they really missed it.

“When it was canceled, there was a lot of worry going around town from people who were really excited about going, talking about how they were, for lack of better words just devastated that it was canceled. I mean I looked forward to going to it for the first time in six or seven years,” Chipley Resident James Baker said.

Not only does the festival showcase a popular summertime fruit, but It also has a huge economic impact on the city. And residents are hoping to bounce back this year.

“I do think businesses will recover from the loss they had last year, I think from now until the festival and even still shortly after that business will be better due to the festival happening,” Baker said.

Peel said the town is anxious to get things rolling.

“And what I am hearing from my sponsors and people who attend is that they are super excited to see some sense of normalcy come back to Chipley and Washington County and the panhandle and so everyone is just really excited about this event happening this year and probably more so than in years past,” Peel said.

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