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Peach Fest draws crowd, breaks record

July 8, 2015
Peach Fest workers cooked the record-breaking largest cobbler.

Peach Fest workers cooked the record-breaking largest cobbler. – Photo by Devin Dronett

JOHN SADLER
Editor-in-Chief | jts040@latech.edu

 
For the straight 65th year , residents and tourists alike braved blistering Louisiana temperatures for Ruston’s annual Peach Festival.

 

 

The event had local vendors, outdoor activities like a halfpipe for BMXers and skateboarders, local and regional bands and the world’s largest fruit cobbler.

 

 

Logan Lewis, who worked to put on the Peach Fest this year, said the cobbler was a way to help keep focus on the peaches.

 

 

“There’s no secret that there is a fungus causing the peach population to decline,” Lewis said. “This was an idea we all came up with to keep the Ruston charm with peaches without making them 100 percent the focus.”

 

 

The cobbler, which was verified by Guinness as the largest fruit cobbler in the world, took a lot of effort to create.

Peach Fest attendees enjoyed all types of carnival food.

Peach Fest attendees enjoyed all types of carnival food.– Photo by Devin Dronett

 

 

“It had to be a metric ton,” said Brandon Southerland. “We originally were expecting around 800-900 pounds.”

 

 

Southerland, one of the cooks of the record-breaking cobbler, said the size requirements made the effort significantly tougher than was originally expected.

 

 

“Instead of guys, we had to have a forklift,” he said. “It was not impossible, but it was a lot tougher.”

 

 

The live musical acts also played a big part in the festival.

 

 

Dash Rip Rock, a New Orleans based band, was the first act to take the stage at the festival.

 

 

Bill Davis, the guitarist and lead singer of the band, said they try to play Ruston at least once a year because the band had a lot of history here.

 

 

The peach eating contest gets underway. – Photo by Brian Blakely

The peach eating contest gets underway. – Photo by Brian Blakely

“KLPI played two of our songs right when we were starting out,” he said. “We were No. 1 for like six weeks at KLPI.”

 

During their set, the band began an improvised version of “Folsom Prison Blues” while a train went by behind them.

 

 

“Sometimes you’ve got to improvise,” Davis said. “If a train goes by, you play a train song.”

 

 

He said picking the correct songs can make or break a performance.

 

 

“We want them to say this is an original band that picks good covers,” he said.

 

 

Dash Rip Rock bassist Patrick Johnson plays to a gathered crowd of locals and tourists.

Dash Rip Rock bassist Patrick Johnson plays to a gathered crowd of locals and tourists.

Activities like the peach eating contest also drew many people, with 13 contestants taking part.

 

 

Tad Cammans, an intern at CenturyLink who won the contest, said he was told of the contest by his roommate the day it happened.

 

 

He said he was concerned a few times that he was not going to be able to finish.

 

 

“There were a few times I would gag on these amazingly overripe peaches,” he said. “But I would just alternate with one of the good ones in the bucket.”

 

 

Lewis said this year’s target demographic was a little different.

 

 

“There was an intentional focus on Tech this year,” he said. “We’re attempting to get the younger generation into the Peach Festival.”

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