HALIFAX COUNTY, Va. (WFXR) — After monitoring the COVID-19 pandemic, officials with the Virginia Cantaloupe Festival in Halifax County decided to cancel the annual festival.
The Virginia Cantaloupe Festival would have celebrated its 40th anniversary this year. The decision did not come lightly.
“It was heartbreaking, really, to have something upcoming up on your 40th anniversary of the festival; it’s a milestone for us,” said Mitzi McCormick, President and CEO of the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce.
Officials made the choice to cancel the festival when they determined people’s health and safety may be at risk. Another reason for the canceling the festival was due to potential capacity issues.
“The festival is a community, family get together,” McCormick said. “To not to be able to have as many people as we’ve had in the past, certainly wouldn’t make it the event that it has been.”
Although the festival was canceled, the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce came up with a new way to celebrate and support local businesses.
“Our thought process is to keep our tradition alive and not to forget about it,” McCormick explained.
Instead of a festival, the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce is holding a virtual Virginia Cantaloupe Celebration.
“With this, our community is still coming together and supporting each other, and doing something to keep our tradition alive.”
The Chamber is offering “Cantaloupe Party Packs” that anyone in the community can purchase. the party packs include:
- Commemorative T-shirt
- A BBQ plate Food Voucher from Spainhour’s
- Reese’s Farm Fresh Produce Cantaloupe Voucher – sponsored by Halifax County Farm Bureau
- Cantaloupe Whiskey Cocktail Voucher and tasting glass from Springfield Distillery
- Discounts and coupons to local Halifax County businesses
- Sponsor swag
Local businesses are also coming together to create cantaloupe-inspired recipes — such as cantaloupe ice cream, cantaloupe sangria, and cantaloupe milkshakes.
“This is all about supporting our local economy and our local businesses and encouraging people to still shop local,” McCormick explained. “Because we know when they go in to get their cantaloupe, hopefully they’ll purchase other things from our farmers and then from our local businesses and, of course, our distillery as well.”
Participants are encouraged to post pictures on social media of themselves celebrating and using their party packs at local businesses. The Halifax County Chamber of Commerce will hold a drawing where winners will receive tickets to the 2021 Virginia Cantaloupe Festival.
“I think that our community, right now, is supporting local business and each other more now than they ever have before, and we’re excited to be a part of that.”
While 2020 was clouded with uncertainty, McCormick says they’re working to make sure the 2021 Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is bigger and better than the last.
To buy a Virginia Cantaloupe Celebration party pack, visit valopefest.com. Party packs can be picked up starting August 18. T-shirts are up for individual purchase, as well.