RICHMOND, Va. (WRIC) — This year’s Carytown Watermelon Festival marks the event’s 40th anniversary. While the streets of Carytown may look fairly normal going into the weekend, they are predicted to be flooded with about 115,000 people on Sunday.
The festival is recognized as one of the largest across the state of Virginia. As it enters its 40th year, the festival has garnered many loyal attendees, especially from people who consider attending it a family tradition.
Others, like Richmond resident Christine Nguyen, plan to attend the festival for the first time this year.
“I’ve never been before,” Nguyen said. “I’ve lived here for about 9 years, so I’m not sure what to expect.”
Other residents, like Raimey Gambill, adore the festival and consider it a community gem. With such a high turnout each year, the event attracts people from all across the community.
Gambill noted the event presents an opportunity for small businesses to showcase their collections to the community, and for community members to support these local businesses.
“It brings the community together,” Gambill said. “It allows people to see local vendors, meet one another, and explore different things and see stores you didn’t know were around, especially here in Carytown. It’s kind of an ever-changing, ever-growing thing.”
At the festival, coordinators work to ensure attendees have ample activity. The festival boasts about 100 exhibitors, 80 musicians and, of course, watermelon — 3,000 watermelons to be exact.
“I’m craving some, because it’s the summer,” Nguyen said.
Watermelon in all sorts of forms will be devoured at stands across the event. There will be slices of the fruit, treats, juices and even watermelon flavored beer and wine for adult patrons. Coordinators also say the festival has something for everyone and is the largest festival for kids on the East Coast.
Residents told 8News they look forward to the festival every year. They believe it’s a way to explore new parts of the city while supporting the parts they already know and love.
“Richmond is the best city ever,” Gambill said.