Chipley- Friday marked the first day of the 56th annual, Washington County Watermelon festival. While organizers were busy harvesting hundreds of melons for the weekend, the Davidson family of Bonifay explained, for them, watermelon season is a year long family affair.
18 year old Jacob Davidson wasn't sure how many truck loads of watermelon he would need to fill. He told us, his plan was to just keep cutting them off the vine until is dad told him to stop. "He just said to get a lot out, so I guess that's just the goal- get a lot out" Jacob said.
He and his siblings grew up working on the family farm. "It doesn't change who you are" he explained, "it just changes your work ethic."
In 2008, the Davidson's expanded their farm operation by starting a retail store. They opened the Main Street Market in Chipley where Jacob's sister, Katelyn Strickland, sells produce from their farm and others. She told us the festival crowd would probably bring in over 500 customers a day.
"Tons of people come to this tiny town just to see a watermelon. It will probably be one of our busiest weekends. It's usually pretty busy during watermelon weekend" Strickland said.
Owner, Paul Davidson told us, running the market and farm would not be possible without the help and support of his family. "A successful farm has to be run through the family. You have to have just about everybody involved with it to make it work" Paul said.
But this year, the Davidson family farm expanded. They enlisted the help of their neighbors and friends, the Brock's to help grow watermelons. The youngest member of the team, six year old Tom Brock, explained his job on the farm to us. "Well really you just, um, look at the curl and if it's brown you cut it and... well that's really it" Brock said.
Like the rest of the group, the future farmer-in-training spent Friday cutting and tossing watermelons. But he did, however, stop every now and then for a tasty, refreshing treat.