Jubilee cancelled for year

Published 12:00 am Saturday, July 24, 2004

There will be fewer festivities and beauty queens in the Camellia City come this August. According to past event organizers, the fabled Watermelon Jubilee and corresponding Miss Watermelon Jubilee pageant will not be held this year.

However, there is hope the event can be revived in 2005.

Cindy Cartwright, president of the Jubilee organization for the past two years, said on Thursday night the summer festival

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&uot;may very possibly&uot; return to Greenville next year.

&uot;We hope it’s just going to be down this one year and we can be back better than ever next year,&uot; Cartwright said.

Last year’s closure of Greenville Academy, where the annual arts and crafts festival was held for the past 26 years, seemed to signal the end of an era, both for the school and the Jubilee.

While school officials had at one time considered re-opening GA for elementary grades only, that plan &uot;has been put aside for now,&uot; Cartwright said.

Cartwright confirmed rumors the local YMCA, which is rapidly outgrowing its present Beeland Park location, was interested in obtaining the Greenville Academy school grounds and facilities.

&uot;We [GA] are currently in negotiations with the Greenville YMCA and I think really good things are going to come about very soon,&uot; she said.

When asked about the timetable of the negotiations, Cartwright said, &uot;Within the next few weeks, I would say, we should see something happening.&uot;

Cartwright commented on the sadness expressed by many of the festival’s long-time vendors.

&uot;We had a number of our vendors get their start in the arts and crafts business at Watermelon Jubilee. We have had exhibitors who have been coming pretty much from the beginning…it’s always been like a homecoming of sorts each summer,&uot; Cartwright explained.

Past Jubilee president Hubert Little had previously expressed hope the festival could become a more area-wide event, with local churches, civic organizations, school clubs and other groups playing an active role.

&uot;It’s become a tradition. Lots of people think of Greenville as the home of the Watermelon Jubilee…it would be a shame to let all that go,&uot; Little said.