RUSSELLVILLE – Plenty of fruity fun is on tap the third weekend in August when summer’s favorite snack takes center stage during the annual Watermelon Festival August 16-17 in Russellville. The festival offers arts and crafts, a variety of watermelon contests, car and truck show, tractor show, food vendors, children’s activities, games and musical entertainment, along with free samples of watermelon.

Festival weekend begins with opening ceremonies at 5:45pm on Friday. Music gets underway at 6pm with Rewind, followed by the Joseph Baldwin Band and Shootin’ You Straight, a Lynyrd Skynyrd cover band. The music continues Saturday at 6pm with performances by Dixie Mafia, Kozmic Mama and Absolute Journey Tribute. Additional free local entertainment can be found on Saturday from 10am-3pm in the historic Roxy Theatre.

Contests centered on watermelons, watermelon seed spitting, the largest melon, best tasting melon, most unusual and best-dressed melons, are a highlight each year entertaining festivalgoers of all ages. Over 100 vehicles are expected for the car and truck show on Saturday and additional activities include a 5K run and 1-mile fun run, character guests to entertain the children and the Franklin County Extension Office contests.

The prestigious Southeast Tourism Society has named the Watermelon Festival a Top 20 Event in the Southeast for August 2019. Founded in 1983, STS is a non-profit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of tourism to its 12 member states of Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Georgia, Kentucky, Louisiana, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee, Virginia and West Virginia.

All activities take place along Main Street (Jackson Avenue). Hours are 6-10pm on Friday and 10am-10pm on Saturday. Admission is free. For more details, visit the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce website at www.franklincountychamber.org and click on the Watermelon Festival link or call 256-332-1760. For the latest information, like the Franklin County Watermelon Festival page on Facebook.