Watermelon Festival in Jefferson County

By: Marise Estime
By: Marise Estime

A mouth watering rural tradition is taking place Saturday in Jefferson County, Florida. Thousands are set to line the streets for the 56th Annual Watermelon Festival.

Field workers in Jefferson County have been busy forming a human chain, harvesting watermelons. The 90-acre field of dreams has been a family tradition for Steve Walker, who's a third generation watermelon farmer.

Steve Walker says, "We've been harvesting for five days now. It started with a good yield. So far weather conditions have been good for us. We had the rain the other day, we didn't get too much; it really helped the group along."

These mouth watering fruits are all the rave in Jefferson County.

Diane Holmes says, "It's a seasonal thing and they are so sweet."

In fact, for 56 years the community has held a festival in its honor, bringing folks from around the country.

Ralph Hardwick added, "I had half a dozen pieces of watermelon, which was sweet and juicy, the most delicious piece of watermelons I ever tasted."

Growers say 90 percent of the crops head to the east coast; they're boxed, weighed, then transported in trucks heading up north to New York and New Jersey just in time for the summer.

Saturday, hundreds will get a chance to sample some of the county's homegrown watermelons at this year's festival. The watermelon parade kicks off at 10:00 a.m. Saturday, followed by an array of activities including, gospel music, and ends with a rodeo set for 8:00 p.m.


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