HEMPSTEAD COUNTY, Ark. (KTAL/KMSS) – The annual Watermelon Festival may be canceled, city officials are holding a virtual “Not-the-Watermelon Festival,” complete with an online concert.
The weekend-long event that usually brings out a crowd of 15,000 to 30,000 people will instead be one day only, on Saturday, August 15.
“When we canceled it because of COVID-19, it was because we care so much about our community and we did not want to spread the virus,” said Hope Chamber of Commerce Executive Director Beckie Moore.
The Watermelon Idol and concert will be streamed online. A local Hope, Arkansas band, South Down Main, will perform.
“It’s going to be a fantastic live event that you get to watch from the comfort of your own home tomorrow night. It’s really going to be different for the guys in the band because they’re playing to an empty house. There’s not going to be anybody in the theater and so they’re really going to have to bring the energy from themselves and not from a crowd that would normally be there,” said Hempstead Hall Director Amanda Lance.
The Hempstead County Chamber of Commerce said this year’s virtual event is free to everyone. “It’s a way to bring the community together for a virtual experience,” said Moore.
Watermelon Idol starts at 4:00 p.m. followed by the concert at 7:00 p.m. The event will be streamed on Hempstead Hall’s website.