By Judith Roberts, publisher
Parish resident or visitor from out of state, the Peach Festival is here for locals and tourists alike, but one thing is for all: the benefits the Peach Festival brings in to the parish.
Amanda Carrier, president and CEO of the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau, said the Peach Festival helps invigorate downtown Ruston.
“The Peach Festival is a really important event for our restaurants and retailers, especially those located downtown,” Carrier said. “It gives our local businesses a huge amount of exposure by putting thousands of people in the parish. Not only are locals and visitors spending money in shops and restaurants, but they are stopping for gas and other goods throughout the parish as well.”
While it is hard to track an exact figure, Carrier said it was undeniable that visitors — and more so, local residents — attend Peach Festival to purchase peachy merchandise, food and drink.
“We know our visitors are here spending, but I would think that the more of the spending for this weekend comes from locals,” she said. “There are so many traditions associated with the Peach Festival that our community enjoys the entire week prior.”
Some of these attractions include Mitcham Farms Peach Store, Lincoln Parish Park, the Peach Hunt, Peach Rodeo, Queen Dixie Gem and Princess Peach Pageant and the Peach Restaurant Roundup.
“Festivals are a huge part of Louisiana tourism and the Peach Fest is one of the longest running festivals in our state,” Carrier said. “It’s focus on agriculture, music and arts makes it unique cultural experience.”
With this experience comes crowds, and Carrier said the event helps celebrate the aspects of Lincoln Parish.
“Please just remember that there are many more people in town than usual and a little patience goes a long way,” she said. “We know Ruston’s hospitality will shine through, as it always does. Also, Bonner Street Bridge will be closed all day Saturday for the safety of pedestrians, so be prepared to navigate around that.”
As for the festival, Carrier said she herself is most looking forward to the food.
“I love festivals for the unique culinary experiences and the Peach Festival is no exception,” Carrier said. “I’m especially excited for the variety of food vendors we have this year.”
Admission to Saturday’s festival is free until 5 p.m., and all children’s activities are free as well.
“It’s an extremely affordable experience to have with your entire family,” Carrier said. “We’re really happy to bring the festival together again this year. I know there has been some changes from year’s past, but it’s such a quality experience. We hope everyone enjoys it.”
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