Ruston ready for kids at Peach Fest

By Judith Roberts, publisher

Funnel cakes, peach ice cream, parades — and that’s just the beginning.

The Louisiana Peach Fest is taking place this Saturday, and Tori Davis, marketing director with Experience Ruston, said this family-friendly event has many activities for kids to participate.

“Some new things we’ll be adding this year are an expanded kids’ area and dedicated kids’ stage in Esma’s Alley, free admission until 5 p.m., more food and arts vendors, and a special edition ringer T-shirt that can be purchased at the festival,” Davis said.

The free admission until 5 p.m. is a newer part of the Peach Fest, one Davis said is to help increase the number of families at the event.

“From what we’ve heard, the locals especially like the free admission until 5 p.m., the additional of free kids activities, the central location of everything being located right near Railroad Park, and of course the nighttime music in the park,” she said.

The music this year, as each year, is varied and local.

“We find musicians through a combination of seeking them out and taking referrals and submissions for those who are interested in playing the festival,” Davis said. “When setting the lineup, our entertainment committee makes sure we have a good variety of genres represented. This year we have everything from country to jazz to gospel. In keeping with our goal of refocusing the festival on local talent, we only have Louisiana born and based musicians featured in our lineup.”

Davis added that the festival is a draw for locals and visitors, who enjoy the peaches and peachy items, the arts market and the experience of walking downtown.

“The parish easily sees 1,000-plus visitors at the festival,” she said. “Last year we had more than 16,000 festival goers, but it’s difficult to quantify the exact number that were out-of-town visitors. However, we can look to our lodging numbers for some indication of visitation. Lodging tax was up 78.15% for June 2021 compared to June 2020 and up 19% compared to June 2019.”

Davis said she hopes parish residents enjoy the festival and showing off the city.

“I’m really excited about the expanded arts market and the music lineup this year,” she said. “I just love the shift we made last year in putting an emphasis on local artists and musicians – it really gave it a more authentic Ruston feel to me and I’m excited to see that again for 2022.”

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