CHIPLEY- In yet another series of sad blows to the area, in light of the COVID-19 situation the Panhandle Watermelon Festival committee announced this week that they are canceling the 2020 festival.

Colby Peel, chairman for the PWF committee, said that in light of the current national situation it was just too risky to put the festival on. He said the committee made the decision only after careful deliberation.

“We carefully weighed all options available to us,” he said. “(We) believe that this decision is necessary for the protection of our community.”

Peel said making this decision would allow the festival to continue stronger in future years to come after.

“PWF is like a family and our responsibility is for everyone’s well being.” Peel said. “At this critical moment, we must sacrifice a little to do our part in taking control of the spread of this virus.”

The festival was scheduled to take place June 26 and 27 at Pals Park.

The first event started in 1969. The social event would be organized into what is now known as the Panhandle Watermelon Festival, led by former Washington County Extension Agent Red Davis. More than 5,000 attendees were estimated in 2015.