CHIPLEY — The 57th annual Panhandle Watermelon Festival kicks off Friday, June 28, at Pals Park with concerts by Andy Griggs at 6 p.m. and Joe Diffie at 7:30 p.m.
“This type of quality entertainment is really special,” said Festival Chairman Colby Peel on Thursday at the Washington County Chamber of Commerce meeting.
Peel said he has received numerous calls from surrounding communities asking how it is possible for Washington County to put on such an event for free.
“For a community our size to be able to bring in acts like this and have the event free really says a lot about the commitment by this community to the festival,” Peel said.
Gates will open at 5 p.m. on Friday at Pals Park and the event is free and open to the public.
On Saturday, June 29, the Festival begins with a Pancake Breakfast at 7 a.m. hosted by the Shriner’s Club and the 35th annual Hot Trot 5K and 1 Mile Fun Run at 7:30 a.m. at Washington-Holmes Technical Center. There is a fee for both the breakfast and the run.
There will also be a Car Show all day at WHTC in conjunction with the festival.
The Watermelon Festival Parade is at 10 a.m. in downtown Chipley on Saturday, and at 11 a.m. festivities continue at the Washington County Agricultural Center, beginning with a concert by Crossroads at 11 a.m. The Queen Introduction will be at 11:45 and the annual Watermelon Auction begins at noon at the Ag Center.
Bluegrass group Dailey and Vincent will perform at 1:30 p.m. to conclude the event. There will also be arts and crafts vendors set up at the Ag Center on Saturday. Admission to all the Ag Center events is free.
“We’re trying to also provide more attractions for kids,” Peel said. Besides the perennial favorites of watermelon rolling and seed spitting contests, there will be bounce houses, face painting and of course free watermelon at the festival on Friday.
“It’s going to be a big weekend, and we’re all looking forward to it,” Peel said. “Come out and enjoy, there’ll be something for everyone.”
57th ANNUAL PANHANDLE WATERMELON FESTIVAL HIGHLIGHTS
Friday events at Pals Park in Chipley:
5 p.m. Pals Park Opens:
Andy Griggs @ 6 p.m.
Joe Diffie @ 7: 30 p.m.
7 a.m. Pancake Breakfast — Shriner’s Club located off Brickyard Road. Tickets at Door.
7:30 a.m. Hot Trot Road Race —WHTC (Hoyt Street) Front Entrance to Register.
All Day Saturday — Vendors at Washington County Agricultural Center. Vendors are still accepted, call 638-6180 for information.
10 a.m. Parade. Line up starts at 9 a.m. at Old High School Stadium. Contact Greg Hutchin 638-1180.
All Day Saturday — Antique Car Show at WHTC. Contact John Ostrowski at 638-7370.
All Day Saturday — Horseshoe Pitch behind Ag Center. Entries welcome. Contact John Claghorn
11 a.m. Ag Center Auditorium — Crossroads Gospel Quartet (Ronnie Davis, Johnny Lang, Chris Ellis, Terry Ellis and Kim Davis Miller).
Noon Ag Center Auditorium — Big Watermelon Contest and Auction (Anyone welcome to bid).
1:30 p.m. Ag Center Auditorium — Dailey & Vincent in concert.