Tammy Gazzola, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce President, said things couldn’t have been more “peachy” in downtown Weatherford as thousands gathered for what could almost be described as a pilgrimage to Parker County to celebrate the 30th Annual Peach Festival.The event, which took place on Saturday drew record numbers, perhaps on news that the peach crop many have been one of the best in recent memory.More than 200 arts and craft, food and activity vendors were on hand for the day’s festivities, which marked the special anniversary. According to organizers, more than 35,000 people flocked to Weatherford for the one-day event last year and by all accounts easily surpassed that number early in the day this year.“This is such a wonderful event,” Gazzola said. “Each year, it just seems to get better and better and we couldn’t do it without our sponsors and volunteers who we are so thankful for.”Festival goers got plenty of their favorites with the event kicking off at 8 a.m. Visitors got their fill of homemade peach ice cream, peach cobbler, peach pie, peach juleps, peach tea, peach smoothies, ice cream topped with fresh peaches and more.The 26th Annual Peach Pedal Bike Ride was another hit, according to organizer Brent Baker.“This was the smoothest Peach Pedal in years,” Baker said. “We had 2,227 riders - such a great turnout.”He said folks keep coming out for the ride and that they're proud that the Peach Pedal is one of the largest rides in North Texas.“The funds support scholarships and other projects for the Weatherford College Foundation and the promotion of Weatherford through the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce,” Baker added. “We have unbelievable volunteers. To spend the day in this heat carrying ice chests, helping stranded riders, serving Gatorade, etc. is a real sacrifice. I can't thank them enough.”The festival provided family-friendly entertainment all day long. Kids loved the Kiddie Corner with bounce houses, games and activities. They also enjoyed a kids area that featured a popular mini-train ride, which was big enough for both kids and parents to take a spin around the Festival, sponsored by StoneWater Church. Three entertainment stages had a variety of performers to keep patrons entertained as they passed by or as they rested a while in the shade under the tents. Roger Williams Auto Mall presented the musical talent on Stage One, and the Rockin’ Red Dirt sounds of Stage Two was sponsored by Plains Capital Bank.The Weatherford Art Association announced its winners of the annual Art Competition and the Artist of the Year at the closing of the festival on Saturday. Local and out of town artists entered more than 150 entries for this year’s prizes.Winners were:• Student’s grades 10-12: 1. Scott Dial 2. Scott Dial 3. Marissa Bazan. Honorable mention to Karah Boone, Lauren Bragg, Andria Latham, Andria Latham and Dial. • Grades 7-9: 1. Rebecca Lopez 2. Jack French 3. Jack French. Honorable mention to French, Riley Hicks and MiKenna Black. • Grades 4-6: 1. Hunter Donahue 2. Charlotte Floyd, Emilia Bazan. Honorable mention to Donahue (twice) and Alix Black. • Grades K-3: 1. Stormie Ellis. Ellis also was awarded student Best of Show. • In the adult category - Work on Paper (watercolors) 1. Patricia Harder 2. Debra Sue Waters 3. Beverly Freeman. Honorable mentions to Waters (twice), Kathleen Cunning, Barbara Doberenz and Allison Hurd. • Works on Canvas (oils and acrylics) 1. Jack Eidson Jr., 2. Judy Mason 3. Diane Bolinger. Honorable mention to Linda Whitehouse, Eidson Jr., Jay Summers, Beverly Crumbie, Betty Wade, Linda Young, Marilyn Brumbley and Jay Summers. • Photo Digital: 1. Lisa Kroger 2. Pamela Steege 3. Pamela Steege. Honorable mention to Megan Smith, Lupe Rodriquez and Megan Smith.• Photo Manipulated: 1. Don Lambert 2. Pamela Steege 3. Don Lambert. Honorable mention to Lambert.• Graphics: 1. Lupe Rodriquez 2. Diane Bolinger 3. Rosalie Kobetich. Honorable mention to Carol Needling.• Experimental/Mixed Media: 1. Beverly Crumbie 2. Michelle Crider 3. Lynda Robinson. Honorable mention to Michelle Crider. • Best of Show was awarded to Rhonda Barefield.• The Adult People’s Choice Award winner was Kathy Cunning with a watercolor called “Old Blue” and People’s Choice Award for the Students was Elvira Bazan.• WAA member John Allen was awarded the Betty Murray Award for his selfless contributions to the Weatherford Art Association in 2014.• The WAA Artist of the Year is Carroll Richardson.
Lance Winter, 817-594-9902, Ext. 102 Twitter: @LanceWinter