Halifax Co., VA - The 33rd Annual Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is Friday in Halifax County, and the tickets have already sold out.
The Halifax County Chamber of Commerce moved the festival to June to avoid the extreme heat in July. That means there won't be locally grown cantaloupes available, but organizers thought ahead to come up with a solution.
The organizers of the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival seem to have everything covered. That's why they weren't worried when they found out local cantaloupes wouldn't be ready in time for the festival's new date.
"They're going to provide them from locally grown growers in Georgia since ours are not quite in season," said Brandon Scearce, vice-chairman of the festival.
Scearce knew that Halifax County melons were vital to the festival. But the July temperatures had been keeping people away. So the Chamber of Commerce came up with a solution: Ticket holders can go to one of two local farms and pick up a free cantaloupe when they are ready.
"We hope people will actually go to Hudson Farm and Reese Farms and redeem their vouchers, but when they walk in the door, what we hope they'll discover is that they've got lettuce and cabbage and corn, and we hope it will be an income stream for them for years to come," said Scearce.
Reese Farms has been donating to the festival for years, so when the Chamber approached them with the idea, they saw it as a way to bring in new customers.
"That will provide people an opportunity maybe to see some of the other things we are growing and hopefully it will be good for business," said Don Reese.
With a beautiful backdrop at Berry Hill Resort, slow-cooked barbecue and live music into the night, organizers expect this year's festival to be the best yet.
But they offer a word of advice to those who will miss the sold out event:
"Hopefully by your tickets a little bit earlier next year," said Scearce.
The festival will be held Friday from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m. at Berry Hill Resort in South Boston.
Get more information on the festival's website.