CONTACT: Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association
PHONE: 256.350.3500 / 800.648.5381

Watermelon Capital of Alabama Offers Free Fruity Fun

Decatur, Ala. (June 12, 2023) – Plenty of sweet juicy fun is on tap the third weekend in August when summer’s favorite fruit takes center stage during the annual Franklin County Watermelon Festival in Russellville, Ala. Set for August 18-19, 2023, the Watermelon Festival offers arts and crafts, a variety of watermelon contests, car and truck show, food vendors, children’s activities, games and musical entertainment, along with free samples of watermelon.

The festival weekend begins with opening ceremonies at 6:45 p.m. on Friday with live music taking the stage both days. While the watermelon takes centerstage, the music lineup is also a main attraction, drawing in people from near and far with its eclectic mix of up and coming artists and nationally known acts.   

Friday, Aug. 18 Music Lineup
6:45 PM – Opening Ceremony (National Anthem to be performed by Tara Greenhill)
7:00 PM – Tremayne 
8:30 PM – Velcro Pygmies

Saturday, Aug. 19 Music Lineup 
6:00 PM – REWIND of the Shoals
7:00 PM – Austin Bohannon
8:30 PM – Colt Ford

Contests centered on watermelons, including watermelon seed spitting, the largest melon, best tasting melon, most unusual and best-dressed melons, are a highlight each year entertaining festivalgoers of all ages. Over 100 vehicles are expected for the car and truck show on Saturday morning, and additional activities include a 5K run and 1-mile fun run, character guests to entertain the children and other contests offered by the Franklin County Extension Office.

The event was voted Best Adults and Children’s Events in the Tennessee Valley in a reader’s choice poll conducted by the Franklin County Times the past three years. The Watermelon Festival started in 1981 as the vision of a local businessman for local farmers to gather and sell their harvest of watermelons. It is now a premier tourist event attracting thousands of visitors each year to the North Alabama community for two days of entertainment and in 2013, the town of Russellville and Franklin County earned the distinction of Watermelon Capital of Alabama from the Alabama legislature.  

All activities take place along Main Street (Jackson Avenue). Hours are 6:00 to 10:00 p.m. on Friday and 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday. Admission is free. For more details, visit the Franklin County Chamber of Commerce website at and click on the Watermelon Festival link or call 256.332.1760. For the latest information, follow the Franklin County Watermelon Festival page on Facebook and Instagram.  

About Alabama Mountain Lakes Tourist Association (AMLA)
AMLA is a nonprofit organization dedicated to the promotion and development of the travel industry within the 16 northernmost counties of the state.  It is supported by 500-plus members consisting of chambers of commerce, Convention & Visitors Bureaus, attractions, campgrounds, festivals, communities, counties, golf courses, restaurants, tour operators, accommodations, vendors, financial institutions, and individuals.  Counties included within the AMLA region are Blount, Cherokee, Colbert, Cullman, DeKalb, Etowah, Franklin, Jackson, Lauderdale, Lawrence, Limestone, Madison, Marion, Marshall, Morgan, and Winston. Additional information on North Alabama destinations, accommodations, and special events is available from the AMLA by calling 800.648.5381 or by visiting their web site at