For Tammy Gazzola, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce president, Peach Festivals past have all been important. But this year things couldn’t be more exciting in downtown Weatherford in preparation for the July 12 annual and 30th Anniversary of the Peach Festival.More than 200 arts and craft, food and activity vendors will be on hand for the days festivities, which will mark the 30th year for the event. According to organizers, more than 35,000 people flocked to Weatherford for the one-day event last year. This year’s organizers are planning for an “even better event” held in Historic Downtown Weatherford which runs 8 a.m. to 5 p.m."We are gearing up for a fantastic festival," Gazzola said. "We have new, different vendors this year with some unique items and a wide variety. We have lots of handmade and hand-embellished items along with produce and food items."The peach crops are looking juicy and delicious this year. There’s no better way to beat the summer heat than by enjoying some peachy treats. Visitors can get their fill of homemade peach ice cream, peach cobbler, peach pie, peach juleps, peach tea, peach smoothies, ice cream topped with fresh peaches and much more.The festival provides family-friendly entertainment all day long. Kids will love the Kiddie Corner for bounce houses, games and activities. The kids area will also feature the popular mini-train ride, which is big enough for both kids and parents to take a spin around the Festival, sponsored by StoneWater Church. Three entertainment stages will have a variety of performers to keep patrons entertained as they pass by or as they rest a while in the shade under the tents. Roger Williams Auto Mall presents the musical talent on Stage One, and the rockin’ “red dirt” sounds of Stage Two will be brought to you by Plains Capital Bank.If festival goers get too warm and are looking for a spot to cool off and rest their legs, Yesterday’s Sandwich Shop will be open on York Avenue, along with other yummy eateries like The Downtown Café; Big John’s Burgers and Beer, Cup & Cake and Fire Oak Grill that will also be serving meals all day long.Peach cobbler and ice cream are festival favorites every year. Enjoy both, as well as take a seat under some shade, at a “Pit Stop” in the parking lot at York and Spring streets. Couts Methodist Church will be serving up their famous homemade peach ice cream and Festival Foods of Parker County will be baking fresh cobblers all day long at this location. Also, serving their famous peach cobbler, the Weatherford Optimist Club will be in their regular spot in the South Food Court. Weatherford Regional Medical Center will be set up in the North Food Court selling their delicious Peach Juleps, a refreshing favorite for many. There will be many other food vendors in both the North and South Food Courts serving up a wide variety of goodies: BBQ, Asian food, Jamaican grilled cuisine, smoothies, funnel cakes, roasted corn, schnitzel and tacos, just to name a few.While cooling down, it’s important to stay hydrated while you shop and enjoy the festival. Free water will be distributed at our Oasis Spots, located throughout the festival grounds. Sponsors for these include Bath Planet, Bailey & Galyen and Home Depot. Home Depot will also have a misting fan to help keep cool, and there will be many others located throughout the festival grounds. Or, make your way to First Baptist Church on Palo Pinto Street – they will generously keep their doors open for folks to cool off inside the air conditioned gym and to use the restrooms.In the southeast quadrant of the square, Back to Yesterday will be open and selling a variety of home décor and gift items. Many other boutiques and antique shops around the square and down York Avenue will be open and offering specials to entice customers in to see their selection of goods.First Financial Bank will once again host the Quilt Show and Wood Chippers on the northwest side of the square. The Firehouse Art Gallery will be open to display and sell pieces created by local artists.Don’t forget about the annual Peach Pedal Bike Ride. With more than 2,200 cyclists, this event begins at Weatherford High School and offers several different routes of varying lengths. Brent Baker and his crew at the Weatherford College Foundation organize the Pedal and have built a reputation as hosting one of the best bike rides around. For more information, visit www.peachpedal.com or give Baker a call at 817-598-6275.Admission is only $5 for adults and kids 12 and under are free. Tickets can be purchased in advance at a discounted rate of $4 at the Weatherford Chamber office at 401 Fort Worth Hwy before July 11th.Parking for the Peach Festival will be available at several remote parking locations: First Monday Grounds, Weatherford College, Weatherford Ninth Grade Center and Hall Middle School. It is free to park at any of the locations and take the shuttles directly to the gates of the festival. Please note, the First Monday Grounds will serve as a parking location only this year – there will be no shuttle pickup/dropoff at this location. Handicap parking is available at the north parking lot of the Ninth Grade Center’s Kangaroo Stadium and in front of City Hall. Thanks to Brilliant Medical Boutique, wheelchairs will also be available to rent near the Main Entrance at Palo Pinto Street.Remember to pick up an “official” Peach Festival T-shirt while they last. The design this year is already proving to be a favorite for both men and women and the Chamber is “excited” to share them with everyone. Sizes S-XL are $15 and XXL-XXXL are $18. Shirts can be purchased at the Chamber office.First National Bank is once again the event’s Title Sponsor and “Big Peach” sponsors also play a “huge role in making this Festival possible for all to enjoy.” Thanks to Wal-mart, The Weatherford New Car Dealers Association, First Financial Bank, Devon Energy, Weatherford Democrat, Professional Caretakers, Jerry’s, Fort Worth Community Credit Union and Silverleaf Resorts.For more information on any of the events or details for the Peach Festival, visit www.PeachFestivalTx.com or “Like” our Peach Festival Facebook page at www.facebook.com/parkercountypeachfestival, or call the Chamber at 817-596-3801. You may also follow us on Pinterest or Instagram at #parkercountypeachfestival.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102 Twitter: @Lancewinter