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Peach Fest 2016: A Look at the Fest

June 30, 2016

 

The second day of Peach Fest featured a parade down Alabama Avenue. – Tech Talk Photo File

The second day of Peach Fest featured a parade down Alabama Avenue. – Tech Talk Photo File

 

 

Payton Potter
Staff Reporter | jpp017@latech.edu

As the 66th annual Louisiana Peach Festival rolled into Ruston, thousands visited the historic downtown area to shop, enjoy carnival rides, eat peaches and more.

The festival, which takes place the fourth Friday and Saturday in June, brings hundreds of vendors to downtown Ruston and invites locals and out-of-towners alike to experience the numerous offerings of Louisiana’s longest running agricultural festival.

A variety of attractions  in railroad park were geared toward children

A variety of attractions in railroad park were geared toward children

Ruston mayor Ronny Walker said the Louisiana Peach Festival, which is put on by the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, helps showcase the north Louisiana town.

“From an economic standpoint, it brings a huge amount of people from out of town to our city,” he said. “I really like to see all the people who come. I’ve heard so many people say, ‘all the people around town have been so nice.’ It gives us a chance to show off our town and the people who work for us here. We love it.”

Rachel Dickson said her favorite part of the Peach Festival was the variety of food vendors and restaurants.

“I’ve never actually been to the Peach Festival, but I’ve enjoyed the food,” said the junior chemical engineering major. “I brought some of my friends from Arkansas, and it has been a lot of fun showing them the places I eat when I’m at school. We went to Nana’s Soulfood for lunch. I have never been there, but it’s really good.”

Dickson said she also enjoyed the many shopping opportunities Peach Fest brought to Ruston.

Professional Skateboarders and BmXers performed demos.  – Tech Talk Photo File

Professional Skateboarders and BmXers performed demos. – Tech Talk Photo File

“Being girls, we like shopping,” she said. “I’ve even found new places to go shopping, and there are a ton. We came in here to see the art, but we ended up walking through and have bought three or four things.”

Mark Burris said the Peach Festival offers attendees a variety of events and activities to enjoy throughout the weekend.

“Peach Festival has great music and great bands,” said the Peach Festival volunteer. “There is a lot to do – a lot of rides for the kids. There is great music, great entertainment and lots of different things to see. There are also things to do like the car show, the arts and crafts show and the kids zone.”

Chamber president Judy Copeland said the seven bands who played their music during the festival help carry the spirit of the festival.

“You’ve got to have some really diehard fans to come watch you during the heat of the day, but we hope we have enough music playing every year that people will start coming back out and supporting those daytime bands. Other than that, the daytime is just kids having fun. Without music, you don’t have that same atmosphere.”

Copeland said some of the new activities the chamber of commerce brought to this year’s festival were geared toward children.

“This year, we have two dinosaurs,” she said. “I thought the dinosaurs would be kind of cool. I thought, ‘if my kids like it, somebody else will.’ We also have a carnival with swings, a water slide and a big pirate ship that swings back and forth – some fun stuff we don’t always have. We also have our usual: the rock wall, the bull riding and the bungee jumping.”

Peach Fest 2016_29Copeland said the time she spent living in the French Quarter of New Orleans influenced her plans for the Peach Festival.

“We have two stilt-walkers, a hula-hooper and a juggler,” she said. “It is just something fun to make it seem more ‘Carnivál.’ My life in New Orleans rubs off still.”

Dickson said she recommends Peach Festival to anyone who has never attended.

“You may go home for the summer, but if you can and it’s possible, you should come up and experience Ruston in summer time,” she said. “Peach F estival is a whole different environment.”

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