The Watermelon Carnival is Water Valley’s most prized annual celebration. An estimated 20,000 people attend the various events, always set the first weekend in August. The carnival is named among the top 20 festivals in the southeastern United States by the Southeastern Tourism Society. The first carnival was held on Thursday, August 27, 1931. At that time, the entire nation was in the grip of the depression. In Water Valley, a bank had failed, the railroad had pulled out, and unemployment was high. Local businessmen were concerned about the spirit of the townspeople, so they decided to host a carnival to boost morale.
The Watermelon Carnival consisted of a parade, a pageant to name the carnival queen, and a formal ball. Festivities were repeated for nine consecutive years, and then halted with the outbreak of World War II. The Watermelon Carnival lay in dormancy until 1980.
Today the Watermelon Carnival is a full-fledged weekend celebration. For many people, it’s a time for coming home to be with family and to enjoy reunions with school classmates. Each year’s carnival is kicked off by a Thursday evening music festival at the Civic Auditorium sponsored by the Town & Country Garden Club. On Friday a Street Dance with a fireworks display draws crowds to City Park. Saturday is full of continuous entertainment, food vendors, arts and crafts booths, contests, parades, an antique car show, a 3-K run and much more.
Celebrating 2020 Carnival T-shirts are available for purchase in person or by mail. Call the Chamber Office for detail.s 662-473-1122
T-shirts are $20 for all sizes
Youth Small - Large
Adult Small to 4 x Large
$5 for shipping
2021 Carnival has been canceled due to Covid 19
Please print, complete and mail your application to
The Water Valley Area Chamber of Commerce, Post Office Box 726, Water Valley, Mississippi 38965
View and download the application to participate in this years BBQ competition by clicking below.
Town & Country Garden Club
The Watermelon Carnival kicks off on Thursday evening, August 1, 2019, with the Town & Country Garden Club Music Festival. The Music Festival is held at the City Auditorium, and tickets are $7.00 per person
6:30 - Pre-Show featuring the Water Valley Community Band
7:00 - Music Festival
Tickets can be purchased from any Town & Garden Club member, at Turnage Drug Store, and at the chamber office.
The Annual Street Dance sponsored by Renasant Bank will be held on Friday, August 2, 2019, on Central Street, adjacent to City Park, featuring the Oxford All-Stars this year.
Each year there are more exciting activities available during our Watermelon Carnival.
Check out the Car Show, sign up for the Watermelon Run, be apart of the Seed Spitting Competition, see the Watermelon Carvings, and . Come back here each year to find out what all will be going on.