Watermelon Days Festival Press Release

Published 1:21 pm Tuesday, May 31, 2022

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The Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce announces the 73rd Annual Watermelon Days Festival main day will be held on June 25, 2022.  Thank you to our presenting sponsors Cordele-Crisp Tourism and Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club! President of the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce Monica Simmons stated, “We are so excited about our festival this year! We are bringing back the watermelon eating contest, seed spit, and chunking contest. We love these classic events to celebrate the fruit of our community!”

The festival kicked-off with the Watermelon Capital Queen Pageant on May 21st at the Crisp County Middle School Auditorium. The pageant director Kristen Smith continues to do a fantastic job promoting the Watermelon Capital Queen Pageant and surpassing the contestant numbers each year. This year the pageant had 82 girls participate. We would like to extend a HUGE CONGRATULATIONS to our newly crowned 2022-2023 Watermelon Capital Queens: Baby Miss- Henley Jernigan, Teeny Miss- Juliette Gates, Tiny Miss- Scarlett Tyson, Little Miss- Anzleigh Harpe, Petite Miss- Zoey Pope, Junior Miss- Kady Booth, Teen Miss- Dani Jones, Miss- Charleigh Harper, and People’s Choice- Kenzi Davis.

The Gliders will arrive to town for the 51st Annual Region 5 South Glider Competition on May 26th. The contest days will be June 3rd– 11th 11:00am-5:30pm.  Chris Carter and Lyn Forbes stated in the press release, “The public is invited to watch the launch and return of gliders at the Cordele Crisp County Airport. Viewing is in designated safe areas and parking is outside the fence line. Contest and airport staff will guide you to safe viewing areas to watch the launch. Chairs, umbrellas, and water are highly recommended. Five tow planes will pull each glider to an altitude of 2000 feet above the airport where the sailplane releases from the tow plane and tries to remain in lift awaiting the opening of the “start gate.” The loitering gliders stay in close

looking for lift and begin to climb in thermals creating “gaggles’ ‘ around the Airport. The launch goal is to have all the gliders airborne in one hour which is exciting to watch as tow planes are constantly returning to the airport to hook up the next glider. The 40-50 gliders grid on the closed runway an hour prior to the typical launch of 12:30-1 p.m. Depending on weather and the task, gliders will return between 4–5:30 p.m.”  Marlene Kimball, Chair of the Tourism Committee stated, “The gliders choose to come back to Cordele year after year because of our hospitality.  We are thankful that they choose to come back to Cordele each year. The gliders bring in many tourism dollars to our community.”

We are thrilled to announce the “This Is Your Life” recipient for 2022 is Mary Beal. This Is Your Life will be held on June 16th at 6:30 in the evening at Lake Blackshear Resort and Golf Club. Tickets can be purchased by calling the Chamber at 229-273-1668. The tickets are $30.00 for individuals or $240 for a table of 8.

The Watermelon Classic Race will be held on June 4th at Crisp Motorsports Park at 4:00pm. And Day Out with Thomas is incorporated in our Watermelon Days Festival events again this year and will be held on the 3 weekends leading up to the Watermelon Days Festival main date on June 4, 5, 11, 12, 18, and 19 at the Georgia Veterans Depot. The Kiwanis Club is sponsoring two events this year for the festival. The Billy Williams Memorial Fishing Rodeo will be held on June 11th from 8:00am-11:00am at Buford Pond on Kelly Road. The Kiwanis Club Annual Talent Show will be held on June 14th at 7:00pm at the Crisp County Middle School Auditorium. Our Watermelon Days Festival calendar is packed with events such as the Crisp County 4-H Dog Show, Watermelon Gospel Sing, WALB Noon Show, Reading with the Queens, Watermelon Walk, & more!! Please visit our website or stop by the Chamber for a brochure listing all of the events and times for this year’s festival.

We are excited to have a few balloons in town for the festival weekend. Hot Air Balloon flights are available by scheduling in advance. Please call 229-322-2275 to schedule your flight. The hot air balloons will be at the Georgia Veterans State Park Friday, June 24th 4:00pm-8:00pm for tether rides and a hot air balloon glow. The tether rides will be booked on site because ballooning is extremely weather dependent. While at the park on June 24th, make sure to check out the live entertainment at the Cypress Grill starting at 8:00pm.

The main festival day will be held on Saturday, June 25th. The 73rd annual parade will be held that morning at 9:30am. The parade will start lining up at 8:30am at the Southgate Shopping Center. The parade will start at 9:30am and follow the route of 15th Avenue from 6th Street to Owens Street. After the parade, come join us at the Georgia Veterans State Park for the festival! The festival will include arts and crafts, food vendors, food trucks, car and truck display, events, and live entertainment. There will be a $5.00 parking fee to enter the Georgia Veterans State Park. RMS Transit of Cordele and Vienna will be offering free transportation from Southgate Shopping Center to the Georgia Veterans State Park from 9am-5pm that day.

We hope you come visit our family friendly event with live entertainment, watermelon slice giveaways, watermelon eating contest, seed spitting contest, watermelon chunking contest, and much more!!!

Our festival celebration will end with a BOOM on July 3rd, with Fireworks on the Flint! Fireworks on the Flint will be held at Georgia Veterans State Park over the beautiful Lake Blackshear. There is a $5 parking fee for the Georgia Veterans State Park. We would like to extend a big thank you to our Fireworks on the Flint sponsors! Thank you to Cordele-Crisp Tourism, City of Cordele, Crisp County Power Commission, Friend of GA Veterans State Park, Lake Blackshear Resort & Golf Club, Lake Blackshear Homeowners Association, Crisp County Board of Commissioners, and Blackshear Veterinary Hospital for your continued support!

This year’s festival theme is “Getting Sweeter with Time Since 1949.” We have shirts for sale at the Chamber prior to and on the day of the festival at the Georgia Veterans State Park. Call or stop by the Chamber to purchase your shirts.

We would like to extend a huge thank you to our sponsors for our 73rd Watermelon Days Festival. If you have any questions about the festival or would like more information on upcoming events, please contact the Cordele-Crisp Chamber of Commerce at tamala@visitcordele.com or call 229-273-1668.