The 41st Annual Watermelon Festival proved to be a bit of a homecoming for Prescott's Rachel Hale, now an emerging Nashville Gospel star, but once upon a time, a 2009 Watermelon Idol winner as she took the stage at Hempstead Hall in front of the grand finale Joe Diffie concert on Saturday night.

The 41st Annual Watermelon Festival proved to be a bit of a homecoming for Prescott’s Rachel Hale, now an emerging Nashville Gospel star, but once upon a time, a 2009 Watermelon Idol winner as she took the stage at Hempstead Hall in front of the grand finale Joe Diffie concert on Saturday night.
Hale was effortless and joyous in belting out a powerful set of songs, mostly of contemporary Christian and Gospel nature, while mixing a message of the heart and telling her own short stories of her life in Nashville.
Of course, Hale had gained national acclaim as a Top-20 finisher on American Idol during season 12 with her performance of “Nothing But The Water.”
True to her Christian beliefs, she led a Hempstead sing-along of “Amazing Grace,” and in a truly spirited — and spiritual — performance, Hale showed all the poise and polish of what she’s become some eight years after she was crowned as 2009 Watermelon Idol winner with the all the experience and seasoning of writing and recording in Nashville for the past few years.
Although Hale was also booked for a revival 15 miles away in her hometown of Prescott later Saturday as Diffie’s concert was happening, she had actually drove back to Hope’s Hempstead Hall for an after concert autograph session well after 10 p.m.
Seen shopping much later with her mom, Kim Hale at the Hope Walmart, Rachel Hale said “Yes, I came back. I just felt like it was something I needed to do, to be there for fans who have supported me. It is always great to be back home.”
Kim Hale, who was named Prescott District Teacher at the 2917 Chamber awards banquet earlier this year, said “It has been a big year for both of us.”
Rachel Hale said she planned on leaving Nashville soon for theology school in Redding, California; she said she wants to continue in ministry and serve God.
“I am really excited for what the future holds and continuing to serve in ministry,” she said.