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Growers prepare for Cave City Watermelon Festival – KAIT

CAVE CITY, Ark. (KAIT) – The Cave City Watermelon Festival is getting closer.

From July 29-31, hundreds of people will flock to Cave City to attend the festival for the first time in over a year.

Organizers and growers say they’ve worked harder to prepare for this year’s festival. Right now, everything is on track for the festival to start Thursday.

As the festival inches closer, melons are flying off of stands just as quickly as growers are putting them there.

Julie Johnson, the committee member of the Watermelon Festival, said she is excited, but nervous as she has seen the increase in COVID cases statewide.

She says the festival will still go on as planned.

“We’ve all just been working hard since we canceled last year,” Johnson said. “We’ve worked, it seems like, even harder than normal to make sure we have a great festival this year… Everything’s in place and we’re ready to have a festival. We’re ready for everybody to come to Cave City.”

Johnson says they’ve seen more people at their stand and more people in the city in preparation for melon season and the festival.

“The preparation is always crazy, especially this time of year, just on a good year,” Johnson said. “It’s crazy because there’s so many different components to it.”

While Johnson says weather pushed back the start of the season, she said that hasn’t stopped people from selling out the stands.

Over at Perkey & Woolridge, they’re experiencing the same busyness.

“It [doesn’t] just start, you know in the spring, but it goes all year,” Rustin Wooldridge, a fourth-generation grower, said.

For Wooldridge, it’s not his first rodeo. Growing watermelons has run in the family for several decades.

“We’re proud of what we do and we try to put the best that we can out there,” Woolridge said.

Wooldridge says even though COVID canceled the festival last year, it didn’t cancel watermelon season, working from sunrise until sundown picking and selling watermelons.

He is excited to interact with people at the festival again.

“We love to get the people in here, love to see where everybody comes from for the festival and the watermelons,” he said. “It’s a big deal.”

The Festival will happen at the Cave City Park.

“We appreciate the volunteer work already underway around town to prepare for the festival,” Cave City Mayor Jonas Anderson said. “We are excited to welcome everyone back this year.”

Copyright 2021 KAIT. All rights reserved.

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