watermelon heart

Pretty much every food can trace its origins to one region and has a city that claims to be its capital. For example, Blackfoot, Idaho, is the “Potato Capital of the World.” There’s a “Salmon Capital of the World” (Ketchikan, Alaska), a “Steak Capital of the World” (Lincoln, Nebraska) and a “Strawberry Capital of the World” (Watsonville, California). And, for some reason, Old Forge, Pennsylvania, is the “Pizza Capital of the World.”

But which city would you need to plug into your GPS to travel to the “Watermelon Capital of the World”? That question is a little harder to answer.

Turns out, seven U.S. cities call themselves the center of the watermelon universe, and all of them have good reasons for laying claim to the title. Oh sure, other foods have multiple cities locked in a battle for the capital crown, but when it comes to watermelon, the sweet battle is the fiercest in the nation.

Here’s a look at each “Watermelon Capital of the World,” along with what makes them deserving of the name. Which one is most deserving of the title? Leave a comment with your thoughts to help settle this debate once and for all!

CORDELE, GEORGIA – Cordele is located in Crisp County, which is the number one watermelon-producing county in the nation’s number two watermelon-producing state. Cordele has an annual Watermelon Days Festival and an auto-racing track called the Watermelon Capital Speedway.

HOPE, ARKANSAS – Hope has a lot to brag about. Besides being the birthplace of former President Bill Clinton, it’s also where some of the world’s largest watermelons are grown (including a then world record holder in 2005). The town holds an annual watermelon festival and even features watermelon in its municipal logo along with the Hope slogan, “A Slice of the Good Life.”

WEATHERFORD, TEXAS – The north Texas city was once one of the state’s biggest watermelon growers (not so much anymore) and once featured an oversized watermelon sculpture outside its courthouse.

GREEN RIVER, UTAH – The tiny town of Green River (population 929) may not be big, but it is home to the “World’s Largest Watermelon.” The old wooden wedge (above) is kept in storage in a hangar in the Green River Airfield and makes appearances at events like Green River’s annual Melon Days Festival.

NAPLES, TEXAS – A lot of watermelons are grown in Naples, and the town has a watermelon festival. That’s about it, really. Oh, the watermelon festival also includes a rodeo. That’s pretty sweet, right?

BEARDSTOWN, ILLINOIS – While other towns call themselves the “Watermelon Capital of the World,” Beardstown only calls itself the “Watermelon Capital.” And for good reason: The town is one of the most prolific watermelon-growers in the state.

RUSH SPRINGS, OKLAHOMA – Rush Springs fulfills all of the usual “Watermelon Capital” requirements. Grow a lot of watermelon? Check. Got a big annual watermelon festival? Check. Actually, that last one is a big check. The Rush Springs Watermelon Festival is one of the state’s most popular festivals, attracting more than 20,000 visitors and serving nearly 50,000 pounds of watermelon each year.

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My opinion. I think that the "Watermelon Capital of the World" should be based on taste and abundance . Festivals are nice and fun to attend as are "Largest Watermelon" contests. To me "The Biggest" does not mean the BEST tasting. I moved from Cordele, Georgia to North Georgia just below the Tennessee line. Our area is fortunate enough to have access to "Cordele Watermelons". I can not tell you how many people I have seen checking the label in the 7 years I have been here and when I ask what are they checking for they? They reply " We are looking for Cordele Georgia Watermelons because they are the best tasting melons ever. We never buy any of the other melons. We always wait for the Best". I have never had a "Bad" Cordele Melon in all the years I lived there (53 years). They are the "Watermelon Capital of the World"!

How Sweet It Is ! Cordell GA. Crisp County. The most and the best watermelons ever ! Enough Said ! Bought and sold here since 1980 from North east Alabama town of Chulafinnee !

Cordele,Ga!!! Just because I was not and raised there. I don’t buy watermelons out the store. I usually drive about two hours to go to my hometown just to get some!!


Guess it depends on your point of view but I agree with ‘Neal from Cordele’. It’s Cordele, Georgia, definitely!

Of course Rush Springs, OK is the REAL Watermelon Capital of the World! I live in Oklahoma but they truly do have the best and sweetest melons, the friendliest people and the festival is OUTSTANDING! Y’all come!

Some of these posts are rather old. So I'll just add my 2 cents, even though a little late. I just came from Kauai to San Jose last night. About three days ago I was doing business inside a large popular supermarket, Foodland. A young lady was buying a pretty large watermelon (about 30 lbs) She paid $50.00 for it. Yep, FIFTY DOLLARS! Now many of you may think that's rather expensive, right? Well, yes, at that store. If she had travelled about 10 miles south she could have bought a 12 pounder for $9.99 at the Costco store.
As for the watermelon capital, I remember as a young tyke passing through Falfurrias, Texas with my parents. We would stop at a roadside stand (very large) and get one huge watermelon for 50 cents. (this was around 1948) I found this: "Falfurrias......watermelon capital of the world, wild turkey, deer, havalina, wild domestic pigs, and quail, NO fish."

Rush springs ,ok. Is capital . I've been to the one in Georgia. It's nice big festival . But rush springs melons are the sweetest . My opinion ..

Cordele, GA, is in Crisp County, not Cordele County. Thanks.

Thank you Elizabeth! We've made that correction on the post.

No contest. Cordele is definitely the watermelon capital of the world with the state farmers' market and no less than 10-15 privately owned watermelon packing sheds operating around the clock throughout the season from May through July. Our watermelon festival goes through 3 weeks of activities and celebrations. You will hardly find anyone around who has not worked in watermelons at some point in their lives. Regardless of whether we have the biggest watermelon on record, we definitely have the sweetest ones.

You should check out Water Valley, MS. They have a Watermelon Carnival the first weekend of every August. They crown a Watermelon Queen, have largest watermelon and seed spitting contests, and watermelon arts and crafts galore. They have soooo much. They should definitely be on this list.

Luling Texas should be on this list. We literally have a "Watermelon Thump" every year (its like a city fair.) We have fruit stands all over the city that sell home grown watermelon. And more.

Luling ,Texas

The real Watermelon Capital is Luling, Texas

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