Held on the first Saturday in June, the Annual Watermelon Festival is perhaps the biggest event in Chiefland during the year, drawing thousands of visitors from all parts of the state. The one-day event began in 1954, as the City of Chiefland wrapped up the completion of new sidewalks and streets. The Chiefland Civic Club decided there was a definite cause to celebrate! It was summer and the watermelon season was drawing to an end, so farmers donated their last watermelons for the celebration. Today, farmers continue to donate watermelons, which are served ice cold and delicious for all visitors to enjoy.
With time, the festival has grown, and now showcases arts and crafts exhibits from around Florida and neighboring states. There are plenty of children's activities, including a watermelon seed-spitting contest! The watermelon parade, auction, weighing-contest, and the Watermelon Queen contest are just some of the festival highlights that draw spectators from all around the area. The tradition has carried on through 50 years, maintained by the Chiefland Women's Club. Hopefully, it will continue on for at least another 50! For more information about the Watermelon Festival or to obtain a vendor or parade application please visit www.chieflandwomansclub.org.
Watermelon Queen Contest:
Girls aged 16 through 21 are eligible to compete in the annual Watermelon Queen Contest. Contestants participate in the Watermelon Parade, riding atop their sponsor's car. Each car has a sign, made by the contestant, identifying the contestant and her sponsor. Then, following the parade and watermelon auction, contestants meet at the Women's Clubhouse on Park Avenue for a brief interview with the judges.
Little Queen & King Contest:
For younger children between the ages of three and five, there is the Little Queen and King Contest. Here, children ride in the Watermelon Parade, then compete for the crown following the parade. The contest, judged by individuals living outside Chiefland, is held at the Tommy Usher Community Center; children are expected to dress in their most comfortable Sunday bests. Prizes are awarded to the winners: