PEACHtober 2020 Brings New Life to a Louisiana Tradition
Good things come in small packages. At least that’s the message from the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce when talking about this year’s scaled-back Peach Festival scheduled for Saturday, October 24, 2020.
“Although the 70th Annual Louisiana Peach Festival was originally scheduled for the fourth Friday and Saturday of June, just like it had been done for years, there was no way we could follow through with our normal schedule with the world immersed in the COVID-19 pandemic,” explained Judy Copeland, Chamber President and CEO. “We recognized that with most of the community still shut down, it was imperative that we make the necessary changes to keep everyone safe.”
Those changes resulted in a significant postponement as well as a new twist on the schedule and theme. After the Chamber Board consulted with entertainers, coordinators, city officials, and other stakeholders, the festival was moved back four months and took on a new look. Welcome to PEACHtober 2020.
“Everyone knows 2020 has been an unprecedented year with everything from COVID to Hurricane Laura,” Ivana Flowers, Communications and Special Events Coordinator for the Chamber stated. “So why not have an unprecedented event at a time when the extraordinary has become the norm.”
Although the event will take place long after peach season, the Chamber is confident the spirit of the peach will still permeate the celebration. In fact, some of your traditional favorites will still take place in spite of the adjusted schedule.
“Everyone can look forward to so many of the things we always include in the usual Louisiana Peach Festival,” Flowers added. “There will be concerts, food vendors, tennis tournament, kids’ fishing tournament, baby photo contest, rodeo, and more. In fact, there will even be a small MakersPlace Craft Show in Sexton Lot right across from Railroad Park. And while it’s only $5 to get in for those 12 years and older, all veterans will be admitted free with veteran ID. Everyone can enjoy the activities right there in downtown, or venture off to some of the outlying events. It should be a great day.”
Of course, some things will begin early to help get things started. One of the changes on tap is a virtual 5K that allows participants to run and turn in their time up to October 23. The Peach Art Exhibit and the Baby Photo Contest will be showcased in the windows of downtown merchants for several days. Plus, there will be two different Peach Hunts for $300 each, one Friday and another Saturday. Then to fit the fall theme, there will be a hay maze added to the “Fun for All Ages” theme in Sexton Lot.
“We really believe there will be something for everyone, even with this smaller, more centralized event,” Copeland continued. “All kinds of music will play on the Railroad Park stage all day on Saturday beginning at 8:00 that morning and ending that evening with The Chee Weez. There will be a stilt walker in the park during the noon segment plus a meet & greet with adoptable dogs. It is a day where family and friends can gather safely, even in the midst of these unprecedented times.”
One thing everyone can look forward to is a break from the usual June heat. And if that isn’t enough reason to fall in love with PEACHtober, maybe the pumpkin theme will do it for you.
“It’s been fun putting a twist on the Louisiana Peach Festival by morphing the peach into a jack-o-lantern,” Flowers pointed out. “After all, peaches do look a little like pumpkins, right? In 2020, we’re pretty sure anything is possible. And we know it’s been a tough year for so many. So we hope everyone will come out, take advantage of the $5 admission, and make some fantastic memories. With all it has to offer, PEACHtober should put a smile on everyone’s face.”
T-shirts, posters and hats are available now at the Chamber and can also be purchased at the event. (T-shirts are also in various locations around town until October 22.)
The Louisiana Peach Festival is produced by the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce in partnership with City of Ruston, Experience Ruston, and Louisiana Office of Tourism; corporately sponsored by AROS, Century Next Bank, JPS Equipment Rental, Northern Louisiana Medical Center, Origin Bank, Q 94.1, SportsTalk 99.3, The Peach 96.3, The Woman’s Clinic, Verizon Wireless, XM 102.3, and Z107.5.
This event is also sponsored by 2High Trampoline Park, AEGIS Financial, Fuqua Companies, Hampton Inn Ruston, Johnston Dental Care, La Capitol FCU, LA State Senator Jay Morris, Log Cabin / Ponchatoulas, Louisiana Center for the Blind, Mabry Company, Mark Johnston Plumbing, NetTech, Polaris of Ruston, RAW Sushi, RelaDyne Hill Oil Company, Rob & Sheila Bordelon, Ruston Daily Leader, The Frame Up, Walpole Tire & Service, Wells Fargo Advisors and Weyerhaeuser Dodson.
Jim Taylor Ford Gate at Sexton Lot | St. Francis Medical Center Gate at Vienna St./Railroad Park
Courtesy Automotive Team Gate at Trenton St./Railroad Park | Green Clinic Exit Gate at Sexton Lot
Merchandise: Northern Louisiana Medical Center tent at Park Ave. by Railroad Park