Cave City Watermelon Festival battles heat, delivers vaccines to community

Published: Aug. 1, 2021 at 9:28 AM CDT
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JONESBORO, Ark. (KAIT) - This year’s Cave City Watermelon Festival reportedly had a smaller turnout than usual, due largely in part due to both the extreme heat and the recent rise in COVID cases.

Organizer Julie Johnson said Saturday she expected a lower turnout because of the heat, and that she was more worried about that than the rise of COVID cases.

“I think the turnout has been kind of low,” Johnson said. “I mean we’ve had good crowds but it’s just been so miserably hot, so I think we’re down some. And our numbers in Sharp County for COVID have been on the rise lately, but I was more worried about the heat and people having heat exhaustion.”

Other problems plagued the festival as well, with several vendors and attractions like the rock wall making late appearances due to vehicle failures.

But Johnson said that she’s happy everything came together in the end.

Meanwhile, at the festival, White River Medical Center teamed up with Cave City Pharmacy to give out all three versions of the COVID vaccine during the three-day festival.

WRMC Community Outreach coordinator Amy Finster says that they’ve vaccinated over 30 people during the course of the event, and are making a focus to educate anyone who is worried about the vaccine.

“If you have a past medical history that you’re worried might not do well with the vaccine, we can provide that education to you to see which vaccine would be better for that person,” Finster said. “So we are here not only to give vaccines but to give that education and answer questions that sometimes people are afraid to ask their local pharmacist.”

Finster said that she and everyone working were pleasantly surprised with how many people decided to get the vaccine, especially with the new information regarding the Delta variant.

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