CHIPLEY, Fla. (WTVY) - Country music, bounce houses and plenty of watermelon filled the 63rd annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival.
"I've lost count over the years,” said Watermelon Festival Goer Nolan Spencer. “I come out with the family and sit down to listen to the music. We're used to going to the parade on Saturday. It's become sort of a ritual."
Nolan Spencer has been going to the panhandle watermelon festival every year for as long as he can remember.
He loves the music, the atmosphere, and most of all...the watermelon.
"I think I've lost count of how many watermelons I've eaten,” said Spencer. “How many seeds I've eaten."
The festival had plenty of watermelon for Nolan and the other 5,000 guests coordinators were anticipating.
It brings in 600-700 watermelons every year.
Of course, there was plenty of watermelon to eat at the Watermelon Festival, but the main event was the music, and WTVY even got the chance to catch up with one of the performers before he took the stage.
"Hopefully they enjoy it,” said Country Singer William Michael Morgan. “That's what it's all about, forgetting about that light bill for a little bit man. Forgetting about the bills and this and that and just coming together for some music."
The festival is put on for free by the sponsors of the event, which even includes free watermelon all night long.
"I don't know where it comes from,” said Festival Goer Noah Kreitz. “It's a lot of watermelon."
Fronting the bill for the festival is a small price to pay for what it does for the area, especially in the wake of Hurricane Michael.
"Our community has been devastated in the last eight months,” said Watermelon Festival Chairman Colby Peel. “A lot of these people would not be able to go and spend the kind of money to see this kind of entertainment."
The second day of the Panhandle Watermelon Festival will include a parade in downtown Chipley and watermelon auction with a 100 pound watermelon.