VINCENNES, IND. (WTHI) - One of the Wabash Valley's tastiest fruits has taken a hit from the long drought.
The watermelon is big business in southern Indiana, but even that desert fruit has wilted under the relentless heat this summer.
Despite a shorter than normal crop the community of Vincennes will be celebrating with it's annual watermelon festival this weekend.
When it comes to watermelons Knox County is the king in Indiana.
Wagon loads of melons came out of irrigated fields, but the drought has taken its toll on those growers who weren't able to put on extra water this year.
"I'm estimating that about half of the watermelon farmers have irrigation and half don't," said Dr. Dan Egel with Purdue University. "Those that don't are really going to be suffering in terms of yield and fruit quality."
Melons are a key part of the farm economy.
Knox County normally ranks number one in Indiana in the production of watermelons and when it comes to national rankings Indiana normally sits 5th or 6th in the production of melons.
That kind of ranking means the watermelon is worthy of celebration.
That's what's going on this weekend in Vincennes where as many as 10,000 people are expected downtown this weekend for a number of events and free slices of watermelon.
"It really is a bolster to our economy, and it's a good way to celebrate those things," said Marc McNeece with the Knox County chamber of Commerce. "You know we do celebrate a lot in Indiana. That's a good thing about our state, and in Knox County we're proud of our watermelon."
A fruit that will put millions of dollars into the local economy again this year, even though its been a dry and less than stellar season.
Saturday will be filled with events in downtown Vincennes.
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