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6-6-18

Chiefland Watermelon Festival


Hundreds of visotors enjoyed the seed spitting contest, auction and other family friendly activities at the Chiefland Watermelon Festival. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Free slices of locally grown watermelon were everyone’s favorite. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


By Tami Stevenson


Organized by the Chiefland Woman’s Club, the 64th Annual Chiefland Watermelon Festival was held last Saturday, in Chiefland Trailhead Park at 23 SE Second Avenue. The event packed the town with visitors. Hundreds lined the street for the parade as threatening clouds loomed. The clouds, however, only produced a light sprinkle that lasted just a few seconds. To everyone’s relief, the parade was able to continue without a typical Florida downpour and featured watermelon beauty pageant queens along with contestants, local businesses, law enforcement and floats decorated with everything watermelon.


The seed spitting contest, they say, is always a favorite at the festival which took place after the watermelon auction. According to their website, Carol Ruth of the Chiefland Woman’s Club coordinated the vendors. There were around 165 booths that offered everything from hand crafted treasures to carnival games with a wide variety of foods. There was something for everyone at the family event as a steady flow of wall to wall visitors went through.


Chiefland 2018 Watermelon Queen Avianna Liuzzo was crowned at the festival.
-Photo Submitted

Avianna Liuzzo was crowned the 2018 Chiefland Watermelon Queen along with Chiefland’s 2018 Teen Queen, Ashtyn Brown.


L-R: Newberry 2018 Watermelon Queen Taylor Dispenza, Chiefland 2018 Watermelon Teen Queen Ashtyn Brown, Chiefland 2017 Watermelon Queen Catherine Bowman, Alabama 2018 Watermelon Queen Sarah Jane Levine, Florida 2018 Watermelon Queen Camri Campbell and National 2018 Watermelon Queen Savannah Christensen. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson



Free slices of watermelon kept the First Baptist Church of Chiefland busy slicing it for hundreds of visitors wanting to experience a slice of the locally grown hot pink treat. Pastor Gordon Keller of First Baptist Church in Chiefland said they have been slicing watermelon for at least 9 years at the festival.


“They have cut some fingers over the years and had to have a few stitches, but we’re getting better at it. We haven’t had any in the last couple years,” Keller added. No one had any incidents at the time the Suwannee Valley Times was there and hope they made it through another year without stitches by the end of the day. They also offered a water man with a hose to wash off sticky fingers and gave out information about God’s Word.


The free watermelon slices were provided courtesy of Murray Tillis of Tillis Farms and Jake Sache of Sache Farms.


The Chiefland Watermelon Festival is certainly an event the entire family can enjoy. Coordinators are already planning for ways to make their 65th Annual even better.



Members from Chiefland First Baptist Church rushed to keep up with free watermelon slices. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Local ROTC headed up the parade. -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Above: Tri-County Veteran’s float in the Watermelon Parade last Saturday where hundreds lined the street in Chiefland to watch the watermelon-themed floats, local businesses, pageant winners and contestants.
-SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Tri-County Metals pulled this float in the parade.  -SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson


Crowds of visitors watched the watermelon auction. Almost everyone enjoyed a slice of the free, hot pink treat.
-SVT Photo by Tami Stevenson