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Lope fest heading for June, Berry Hill / January 13, 2013
Big changes are coming to the 2013 Virginia Cantaloupe Festival. Not only will the Festival be moving its location but also the date. Instead of gathering at the Halifax County Fairgrounds on the fourth Friday in July, attendees will be heading to The Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center June 7. The celebration will continue to focus on the world’s best cantaloupes although market fresh melons will be served which everyone enjoys until the Halifax Melons are available for harvest.

The 33rd Annual Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is scheduled for Friday, June 7, at the Berry Hill Resort & Conference Center. Festival Chairman, Kathy Farley, said “This change has created a lot of excitement. Our idea is to kick-off the summer and celebrate early before the weather gets too hot. Although cantaloupe is a crop that matures in July, we agreed to not let that stop us from changing the date and hosting a great event for our community.”

Ticket sales will be limited to only 1,500 and will go on sale to the general public on April 1. A sell out is anticipated.

Rooms at Berry Hill for the night of the festival are being incorporated into sponsorship packages. The Chamber has contracted the whole facility. If any are available after sponsorships, they will be offered for sale to ticket purchasers. As an added incentive, anyone who buys tickets online at between April 1 and April 30 will be entered into a drawing to win a room for the night of the festival, one entry for every ticket. The drawing will take place on May 1.

To complete the celebration, a Chamber Business After Hours is being planned for July when the local melons are ripe and ready for consumption. Although all the details are not finalized, it will be an event where the delicious local cantaloupes will be available and celebrated.

According to festival organizers, the two biggest complaints about past festivals are the heat and the location. “Understandably it has not been the same since it moved from John Wade’s Farm. There always seemed to be a breeze in the pine trees out there. It may have been the setting. We believe that Berry Hill is the perfect location to accommodate the essential elements to which we must adhere and still have the ambience people like,’ Nancy Pool, Halifax County Chamber president,said. Poolhas been around for every festival since the inaugural event in Turbeville in 1981.

“We are thrilled to move it to Berry Hill. Why not celebrate one of the county’s greatest products at one of the county’s greatest treasurers?” asked Farley. “We have been unable to replicate the pristine setting of John Wade’s farm and have been hearing about it for years. Berry Hill offers the ambience that has been missing.”

The Virginia Cantaloupe Festival has garnered a good reputation and the Chamber does not want to lose that recognition. Halifax County is noted far and wide for its delicious cantaloupes. The festival will continue to promote the melons and other crops that have been staples for years. Coles Berry Farm grows fabulous blackberries and other berries that have been served at the festival with locally grown watermelons and other fruits.

The Virginia Cantaloupe Festival is the major fundraiser for the Halifax County Chamber of Commerce which depends heavily on its profits to carry out its mission. The Chamber is a pro-business, pro-economic development organization with a membership of approximately 400 enterprises. It is a private, not-for-profit organization that advocates for and promotes members and engages in public policy debate and decisions that impact member businesses and organizations, Halifax County and the Commonwealth of Virginia. It focuses on the economic vitality and sustainability of Halifax County.

“Member businesses can count on the Chamber to promote them and advocate on their behalf. The Chamber keeps a finger on the pulse of activities and where action is needed, the Chamber is there. No other organization has this mission and role to represent the business community,” stated Pool. “I am proud to work for such an active and engaged organization that does not back down from challenges”.

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Such a smart decision to change to Berry Hill. Great work!


This is a slap in the face to every locally owned business in Halifax County. This festival was formed to promote Halifax County and the world famous Halifax County Cantaloupes. If you attend the festival this year, I hope you enjoy promoting South Carolina and Georgia Cantaloupes. Halifax County Chamber shame on you.....


What's going to happen when one of those "drunks" gets confused and gets into the mansion and breaks something? And don't sit there and tell me it won't happen, because we all know it will. So all these people are going to park their cars where over at Berry Hill?? I have been there on several occasions and it has the WORST parking! Are people going to park on the lovely grounds? Tear that up too? Trust me, if it happens there this year, it will not be there next year.


South Carolina and Georgia 'lopes? More like California and Mexico grown melons. Not HC melons by a long shot and certainly not the original Turbeville Cantaloupe that started it all.

I wish them success. Might as well since the CofC is going to do as it pleases anyway. I know they're damned if they do, damned if they don't when trying to keep this thing viable, but moving it to a time of year when local melons are completely unavailable and to a location owned by outsider interests is certainly not sticking to their mission of promoting local business, crops and products.

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