CHIPLEY, Fla. (WMBB) — The Panhandle Watermelon Festival returned for it’s 65th year after being cancelled in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The festival kicked off on Friday with live music and of course, ice-cold watermelon.

Event chairman, Judge Colby Peel, said while it was a tough decision to cancel last year’s event, he said it was ultimately the right choice.

Peel said at first he was worried the festival would lose momentum after canceling, but he said that isn’t the case.

“This festival has built quite a bit of momentum in the last 5 or 6, 7 years and I was concerned that we might lose some of that momentum but we haven’t at all,” Peel said. “Our sponsors have been wonderful, our volunteers have been wonderful and our crowd is already wonderful tonight. We’re just super excited about this weekend.”

The event will run through the weekend and all of the events are free. Some of the events for Saturday include a pancake breakfast and a parade.