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. 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.
2022 Carnival T-shirts are available for purchase in person at the Chamber or Commerce and Turnage Drug Store or by mail. Call the Chamber of Commerce office for details at 662-473-1122
T-shirts are $20 for all sizes
Youth Small - Large
Adult Small to 4 x Large
$5 for shipping
2022 Carnival T-shirts are available for purchase in person at the Chamber or Commerce, Turnage Drug Store, Mechanics Bank, Renasant Bank, The North Mississippi Herald, The Family Hairloom and Clip, Snip and Curl, or by mail. Call the Chamber of Commerce office for details at 662-473-1122
Programs are $5
Check out all the upcoming events and information for this years carnival below.
Click on the image to find out more.
View and download the application to participate in this years BBQ competition by clicking below.
The Annual Street Dance sponsored by Renasant Bank will be held on Friday, August 4, 2023 starting at 7pm, on Central Street, adjacent to City Park, featuring Kevin and Bethany Paige.
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.