What are the Award Programs?

 The National Watermelon Association has a long-standing tradition of honoring a few special people and/or member-companies for their service and commitment to the association. This year we will continue that tradition with a few awards as we recognize those that have stood above the rest.

  Nominations are open for the following awards:

Marketing Excellence

Each year at the National Watermelon Association’s annual convention, the Association honors the Watermelon Marketer of the Year.  This award recognizes the marketing and sales of watermelon by a business, or marketing at an event that stands above the rest.  The award winners of past years include retailers, wholesalers, food service operators, defense commissaries and businesses that promoted watermelon above and beyond:
2023 NWA Marketing Award Nomination


Future Watermelon Farm Leaders

The Future Watermelon Farm Leaders (FWFL) program recognizes the next generation of growers and packers who will lead the industry (and this Association) into the future. They do (and will) represent the generation that will meet the demands of a growing global population, sustain family farms and provide the nutritious food to the world.
2023 NWA Future WM Farm Leaders Nomination


Hall of Fame

The National Watermelon Association Hall of Fame, with its beginnings in 2014, honors the distinguished leaders who have made significant, long-lasting contributions to the Association.  Their individual contributions have helped to advance and ensure that the Association continues to thrive for many years.  Their unselfish efforts to nurture and promote our country’s oldest fruit commodity association is deserving of our highest honor.
2023 NWA Hall of Fame Nomination.pdf


Outstanding Service

Every so often the National Watermelon Association recognizes and honors a person with the Outstanding Service Award. This special award is presented to a person that has gone above and beyond in their support of the NWA for many years past. The honor is held in high esteem and is earned (and deserved) by the very few that have contributed their valuable time, efforts, and leadership to the expressed benefit of the NWA.  This award is unparalleled and represents the highest recognition that the National Watermelon Association can present at the national convention. 2023 NWA Outstanding Service Award Nomination



How can we participate?

Registration forms

You can register for the full convention right HERE. Our discounted rates will run through February 3rd, 2023.  After that date, the discount will expire, and the full rate will take effect through the national convention.  Reserve your seat today for the next, great convention.


Banquet Only Registration From

Additionally, we have a registration form for those folks that cannot make it to the entire convention, but they wish to join us for the celebration at the Saturday evening Awards Banquet.  Click HERE for more information.



Let’s talk about how important our sponsors are to the NWA.  Here is the bottom line ……. Your support of our annually-recognized sponsor program allows us to do two things.  First, we are able to keep our convention registration fees at an industry-low while providing you with six (6) wonderful meals, hosted beverages, speakers and entertainment that should costs upwards of $200+ per person more. 

Second, we are able to expand critical programs such as research, food safety initiatives and more that help us to make positive differences in the livelihoods of our members.  That’s it in a nut shell. So, now that you know how important it is to us, help us by renewing your sponsorship for the coming year today.  And if you are not a sponsor yet, please join your colleagues and help us to help you.  You will have no regrets.

Also, we have one added feature this coming year.  If your company would like us to insert a sell-sheet or brochure into the convention registration bags, we are offering that opportunity to you for $500.  You provide the sell sheet or brochure, and we’ll do the rest.
2023 Sponsor Program


For our return to the annual convention in Asheville, we have Great News.  We will have up to 30+ table-top display areas in the best location we have ever had - - inside the ballroom itself - - where all of the main events are held. That will give your company more exposure than we have ever offered before, including Opening Night and all-day on Friday. It doesn’t get any better than this.  As a result, we expect to have a full sell-out of our exhibit spaces which range from single up to double spaces.  Secure yours today, and get in the big game with the NWA.  We cannot express to you how great this will be. Join us, and experience it with us. 2023 NWA Exhibits (form updated 11-2-22)

Raffle (ticket offer)

One of the fun events at our national convention is the annual raffle drawing.  Up to 150 tickets are sold ($100 each) for a chance to win $3000, $1500 or $750. Three lucky winners are selected at the closing reception on Saturday evening. If you would like to support this fundraiser and get your chance to win, contact Monica at (863) 619-7575 or email her at [email protected]. Or, you can visit Tami at the NWA convention’s registration desk, or at the annual auction. Take a chance - - you could be the next Big Winner!

Advertising (program book)

Our ‘print’ advertisements have been a standard-bearer at the national convention for decades, and provide a unique opportunity to make your company stand out amongst the rest by supporting the association while you promote your products and services. We have affordable rates available for the convention program beginning at $300 (Quarter-page), $400 (half-page) and $500 (full page) Ads.  Allow us to help you to show your support and promote your company to our members.  Support the Program.  You will be happy that you did. 2023 Conv Program and Vineline advertising

Auction Donations

On Friday afternoon the NWA will once again hold its annual watermelon auction, this time complete with watermelon loads, donated items, a vibrant silent auction, memorabilia, and more. If you would like to donate a watermelon load, or an item for the live or silent auctions, please let Monica in our office know as soon as possible. Your donations help us to create a fun, lively atmosphere at the auction, with the proceeds funding many important programs such as research, food safety and federal policy. If you would like to support this fundraiser contact Monica at (863) 619-7575 or email her at [email protected].




Come one – come all! This is the place to be – the 108th National

Watermelon Association Convention & Annual Meeting! 

We’ll see you there! 

What will happen at convention?

Convention Highlights

This edition of the national convention will be different than most, along with the expected business, fun & entertainment, and honors.  The entire week will surround a theme that represents the Blue Ridge environment …….. the mountains, pine trees & pinecones, bears-bears-and-more-bears, clogging (dance), Bluegrass Music, arts & crafts demonstrations, craft beers, and so much more.  And that’s just on..

Opening Night!

There is so much in between that we don’t have enough room to list it all. The auction will feature some really-cool items and ideas, and a return to our popular memorabilia and silent auctions that will go hand-in-hand with the live auction.  We are planning a special celebration on Friday evening to celebrate the retirement of our long-time Executive Director and his wife - Bob & Betsy - as they will soon after begin their retirement in the foothills of the Blue Ridge Mountains in North Carolina.  At our closing awards banquet, you will have the opportunity to meet Bob's new successor who will lead this association into the future. A lot will happen at this year's national convention, history will be made, and a lot of fun will be had by every generation.    


2023 NWA Convention Agenda 
(Updated 01-23-23)


Golf Tournament

It is time to restart the annual tournament known to us all as the Arnold Mack Memorial Golf Tournament, named after one of the legends in our association and the industry. 
The 4-person scramble will take place on Wednesday afternoon, February 22, 2023 at the Donald Ross-designed Grove Park Inn course, set at the base of Sunset Mountain in Asheville, NC.   

This golf course is one that should not be missed.
It is a Donald Ross design that must be played. 

This event is FULL





How can we get there?

Airport information

Asheville Regional Airport is over 60 years old and going through a huge expansion plan.  Currently, six major airlines hold gates in AVL including Allegiant, American, Delta, JetBlue, Sun Country and United. The airport is located in Fletcher, NC – 17 miles from the Omni Grove Park Inn. 

Click for information

Local transportation

There are several options to travel from the airport to the resort hotel, from taxis to mobile rider-shares to rental cars and more. Here is a lengthy list of options that you may want to consider.

Click here for local transportation from airport 

Drive and Park

The Omni Grove Park Inn offers plenty of parking, both in the parking lot and in their parking garage. 

The rates are:
  Valet Parking = $30 per day
Self Parking = $20 per day

Where is it being hosted?

The Omni Grove Park Inn
290 Macon Road
Asheville, North Carolina 28804

There’s a reason guests have been staying at The Grove Park Inn for over one hundred years. They come for relaxation, rejuvenation and to breathe in the clean mountain air. The Inn, set atop Sunset Mountain, features guestrooms with spectacular views of the Blue Ridge Mountains and its lush Donald Ross–designed golf course. Choose one of the Inn’s oldest rooms in The Main Inn furnished   with Roycroft Arts and Crafts décor. Or opt for something larger and more modern with a room or suite located in our newer Sammons and Vanderbilt Wings, including our exclusive Club Floor.  WebsiteVideo: 
Self-Guided Tour of Grove Park Inn

Click Here For Hotel History

Resort Amenities

The normal resort fee is included in the group room rate; waived for our group.  So, enjoy the numerous amenities and the splendor of The Grove Park while you are here:

    •    High Speed Internet (6 MB) in Guest Rooms & Common Areas
    •    Access to the 50,000 SF Sports Complex
    •    Access to Racquetball Courts
    •    Access to Indoor Pool
    •    Access to Elaine’s Dueling Piano Bar
    •    On-Property Shuttle Service
    •    Toll Free & Local Calling
    •    In-Room Coffee
    •    Newspaper available in the Lobby
    •    Access to the Sunset Hiking Trail
    Resort Pictures Click Here:


Hotel Room & Suites

This historic hotel, built in 1913, has three buildings tied in together with each holding its own unique characteristics.  The Main Inn, Sammons Wing and Vanderbilt Wing each have its own style of décor.  The room décor for rooms within each wing have the same décor, regardless of which direction the room is facing.
Standard Room 
The standard rooms are run-of-house, which means that you may be placed in any of the three wings of the resort hotel.  Be aware that the NWA convention will be held on the 8th floor of the Vanderbilt Wing.  
Standard King photo
Standard Double photo
Deluxe Mountain View
The Deluxe Mountain View are in the Main Inn and face the Mountains.
Premium Mountain View
The Premium Mountain View Rooms are in both the Sammons Wing and the Vanderbilt Wing and face the Mountains.
Executive King Suite

Executive Suite photo
Club Floor Room
The Club Floor is an exclusive, adult-only (21+) floor with personal concierge service. The Club Floor rooms offer a spa-like bathroom featuring a single effervescent bath and a spacious walk-in hydro-shower. Club Floor guests enjoy turndown service, continental breakfast, evening cocktails with hors d’ oeuvres in the Club Floor Lounge, access to the Spa Fitness Center, and garage or valet parking. *Guests not staying on the Club Floor are not permitted access to this level, and key card access is required for the elevator Club King photo

Hotel Reservations

PHONE:  Guests may call the Central Reservations Office at 800-438-5800 to make reservations. 

ONLINE:  Guests may also access room reservations via online booking using the following weblink:

A one night’s deposit is required to confirm all room reservations.

Sports Complex

The 50,000 sq. ft. Sports Complex houses an indoor fitness and family pool kept at the ideal temperature to play in year round.  Get energized at the Fitness Club, featuring personal training sessions, fitness classes like Yoga and Pilates, treadmills, elliptical trainers, free weights and more than 20 Paramount stations.  Or play indoor tennis on the courts.The Sports Complex is complimentary usage by ‘registered’ guests.

GPI Golf Course

Framed by the Blue Ridge Mountains, this legendary Donald Ross designed golf course offers a unique 18-holes that are contoured out of our rolling landscape with tree-lined fairways, challenging bunkers and receptive bent greens. Designed by the legendary Donald Ross in 1926, the 6,400-yard, par-70 course is contoured out of the rolling landscape with tree-lined fairways, challenging bunkers and receptive bent greens. And, its elevated tee boxes mean you get amazing views with each drive. The course is considered one of the top golf courses in North Carolina. It is also among the top ten courses 100 years or older according to Golf Digest, though it certainly doesn’t show its age. Masterfully restored in 2001, it reflects the glory and spirit of Donald Ross’ original design. Tee times can be reserved by contacting the pro, Zach Hepp at (828) 252-2711 ext. 1044 or Email at [email protected] For INDIVIDUAL golf reservations, call 1-800-438-5800

Pamper yourself in our $50 million 43,000-square-foot subterranean spa featuring cavernous rock walls, arches, tunnels and 20 water features. The main pool area features two therapeutic waterfall pools, a warm mineral pool and lap pool with 6,500 fiber-optic stars embedded in the ceiling and constant underwater music. Enjoy exhilarating contrast pools, an inhalation room and eucalyptus-infused steam room. The 10 pools are mineral-based and contain traces of sodium, potassium, magnesium and zinc. Three fireside lounges await you with overstuffed chairs, warm blankets, light snacks, hot organic teas and herbal infused waters. And step outside to enjoy fireplaces, whirlpool, and a tiered outdoor terrace with panoramic mountain views. Video:

NOTE: You MUST have a room reservation to be able to set a Spa appointment! Contact Shanda or Amber for spa reservations: Shanda. [email protected] and [email protected]
or call for INDIVIDUAL spa reservations at 1-800-438-5800

In-House Shopping

Visit the Shops at The Emporium 1913 in the Vanderbilt Wing for all your retail therapy. These four interconnected shops, Cloth, Seely & Grove, The Pink Pig, and Marketplace, provide you with everything you need from logo merchandise and local crafts to unique house made treats and gourmet chocolates. Or visit the Christmas, Art and Gift Shoppes along the Carolina Hallway on the path to the Sammons Wing.

Restaurant Dining

EDISON, CRAFT ALES + KITCHEN is an inventive bar and restaurant that brings together the food culture and local flavors of downtown, with expansive indoor and outdoor seating that offers spectacular views of the mountains. EDISON serves NC craft beers, small batch bourbons, handcrafted cocktails, and regionally inspired food in a contemporary, fun, and artistic setting. Several renowned artists who celebrate the creativity of the area and call this community home are showcased in the indoor dining room, offering our patrons a true Asheville experience.

VUE 1913, AN AMERICAN BRASSERIE offers guests a comfortable and stylish setting for a leisurely meal designed only with the love of food in mind. The brasserie style format allows our chef the flexibility to truly showcase the best local rustic ingredients of each season. All dressed up with an art deco and panoramic view of the Blue Ridge Mountains, Vue 1913 is the perfect fit for your everyday dinner plans and your special occasions. 

BLUE RIDGE is a farm-to-table artisanal buffet overlooking the majestic Blue Ridge Mountains. The award winning Friday night Seafood Buffet, Saturday night Prime Rib Buffet, and phenomenal Champagne Sunday Brunch are the perfect way to end any week. Groups of 10 or more ….. Make your meal reservations as soon as possible. For INDIVIDUAL or smaller group restaurant reservations, call 1-800-438-5800 


THE GREAT HALL BAR is the perfect place to gather to really get a feel for the history and tradition of the Inn. Sip a signature martini and enjoy the grandeur that has made generations of guests feel they've left the ordinary behind. Flanked by immense 14-foot stone fireplaces and steeped in old-world rustic charm, The Great Hall Bar is a wonderful place to meet before dinner or a romantic nightcap. Enjoy appetizers, entrees, light fare and desserts throughout the day, and nightly entertainment.

PRESIDENTS LOUNGE caters to your before and after dinner plans with a fine selection of wines by the glass and small plates. Looking out across the cityscape of downtown Asheville you can relax and savor flights of chocolate as the sunset paints the sky. Presidents Lounge honors our rich history, having hosted ten Commanders in Chief at the Inn throughout the years.

ELAINE’S DUELING PIANO BAR is a fun atmosphere and time to have.  You might mistake our musicians for comedians. But that’s okay.  You might actually dance and sing the night away. So grab a group of friends and get here for the tunes and laughter.

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