Downtown adds flavor to festival

By Judith Roberts, publisher

It’s one day to celebrate it all.

Peach Fest is this week, and Amy Stegall, Main Street director and community coordinator, said June 4 is going to be jam packed with fun, experience and, of course, peaches.

“Music and food will be in Railroad Park and on Park Avenue,” Stegall said. “This year there will be the Art Market in Sexton Lot and on East Park Avenue, snack vendors on East Park Ave and The Kids Alley in Esma’s Alley and on the east part of East Park Avenue.  Beta Sigma Phi will be selling peach ice cream at the historic fire station, where you’ll also find the winning entries from the NCLAC Peach Art Show.  There will be a Peach Parade at 9 a.m. hosted by Quota Club. The Peachy Sidewalk Sale will be happening all over downtown. There will be a Peach Hunt which is always a community favorite — the peach prize is hidden in a public space each year — but definitely not limited to downtown. There will be other peachy events that weekend like the Dixie Gem Pageant and the Rodeo that you can find on our website”

Stegall said the event moved to one day to ensure all the community’s efforts went into getting everything just right for visitors and locals alike.

“I think people are beyond ready to get back to normal,” Stegall said. “Last year, we had the perfect storm.  With LA Tech being a regional host for baseball, a huge tournament at the Sports Complex and the first festival after COVID — we saw record numbers. We are hopeful that the trend continues. With lots of activities, art, food, and music—that is all free until 5 p.m., we think we’ll have a great turn out again.”

Stegall added that having the event in downtown allows people to walk to most peachy activities.

“Over the years the Peach Festival has included many different areas of the city,” she said. “I think that downtown was always a part of it, but focusing on this area of the city gives it a very special feel.  Downtown is the heartbeat of our city. It is the connection point for the universities, people and culture.  When we began coordinating the event, we wanted to recognize that aspect and bring us back to that place of community and culture. Also a key part of the event is the ability to walk to the festival, as well as local shops and restaurants. Showcasing our local places is icing on the cake.”

And the downtown businesses are ready, Stegall said.

“Almost all of our business are participating in one way or another,” she said. “We’ll have many of our merchants will be participating in the Peachy Sidewalk sale. This tradition has been going on for so long. People look forward to the deals downtown and it creates a festival atmosphere right on the sidewalk Thursday through Saturday where you’ll be sure and find some sort of treasure to take home. Also, our restaurants always participate in the Peach Restaurant Round Up, serving peach inspired drinks, eats and treats the week of the festival.”

As individuals move from various activities, Stegall added that to enjoy all the festivities, be prepared for the heat.

“It is hot,” she emphasized. “And we know to expect that. We want to remind those who may  be worried about the heat to come early or later, drink plenty of water, find some shade under the tent in Railroad Park or from the vendors tents. Also be sure and get come good cold ice cream and air-conditioning at the Historic Fire Station. Most of all—pace yourself. We’ll be there all day and night.”

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