Peach Parade returns to roots

By Judith Roberts, publisher

It was 30 minutes of candy-filled smiles for many children and waves from float participants and watchers at this weekend’s Peach Parade.

Tori Davis, marketing director with Experience Ruston, said the Convention and Visitors Bureau had received many phone calls this year asking if the parade was going to return after a two year hiatus due to COVID-19 concerns.

“People love the parade,” Davis said. “This year we’re really excited to bring it back. I think that’s a popular piece of it. People love a parade, the community pride you see, the creativity you see in the floats from local businesses.”

Ruston resident William Dowling came to the parade with his two children and said they come to see the parade and to attend Peach Festival events.

“We come every year,” he said. “We’re going to go downtown (after the parade) to see what they have. I’m not sure what all they have, but we always come.”

Geni Smith and her husband Mark and son Adam drove in from El Dorado as part of their tradition to attend Peach Festival. Smith grew up in Ruston; her parents met at Louisiana Tech and married, and then she and her husband met at Tech and married as well. Now Geni and Mark’s son is a junior.

“My mom and dad still live here in town, and I’ve grown up pretty much my whole life coming to the Peach Festival and coming to the parade,” she said. “Most of my life I’ve come to Peach Festival, so we still come back.”

The Smith family all agreed that the parade was a great part of Peach Fest and energized them for the rest of the day.

“The parade was good. It’s like we’re getting back to normal,” Geni Smith said. “We’re going to walk to Railroad and check out the sights and sounds and get some peach ice cream and visit with family.”

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