It’s part of Parker County’s heritage. For more than 30 years a tradition, every second Saturday in July, folk from all over North Texas journey to Weatherford for what’s arguably one of the best festivals in the state - the Parker County Peach Festival.
For Tammy Gazzola, Weatherford Chamber of Commerce president, Peach Festivals past have all been important and this year is no different as excitement builds in preparation of the 33rd annual event on Saturday.
More than 200 arts and craft, food and activity vendors will be on hand for the festivities. According to organizers, more than 40,000 people flocked to Weatherford for the one-day event last year. This year’s organizers are planning on a "sweeter event" 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."
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She said the peach crops are early and delicious this year thanks to the mild winter.
“There’s no better way to beat the summer heat than by enjoying some peachy treats,” Gazzola said. “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 Epic Orthodontics
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. Weatherford Democrat presents the musical talent on Stage One, and the rockin’ "red dirt" sounds of Stage Two will be brought to you by McMC Auto. The Children’s Stage is always a favorite featuring Food Competition and Pageant Winners sponsored by Brownstone Church.
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 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: Cajun, BBQ, Jamaican grilled cuisine, specialty Cinnamon buns, Philly Cheese steak, Panini melts, food on a stick, smoothies, funnel cakes, roasted corn and schnitzel 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 Knight Propane, 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.
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.
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. The event has been taken over by the United Way and has built built a reputation as hosting one of the best bike rides around. For more information, visit: www.peachpedal.com.
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 8th.
Parking for the Peach Festival will be available at several remote parking locations: First Monday Grounds, Weatherford College and Weatherford Ninth Grade Center. 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.