Peach Festival kicks off with Woman-less Beauty Pageant

awoolen@macon.comJune 4, 2014 

The world’s largest peach cobbler will again be center stage as the Peach Festival starts Thursday.

Held in both Byron and Fort Valley, the 10-day festival will host a number of events in multiple locations.

Starting off the festival Thursday is a Woman-less Beauty Pageant at the Austin Theater in Fort Valley at 7 p.m.

Normally the festival has a murder-mystery dinner, but organizers decided to change it up to include men in dresses for the kickoff event.

The 10 contestants will be judged on a talent and answering a question. Celebrity judges include Peach County Sheriff Terry Deese, shop owner James Khoury and former Peach Festival chairman Rich Bennett.

Organizer Linda Smith said the kid-friendly event will include men in heels lip-synching, wrestling and reading poetry.

“It will be great,” she said.

The Byron Area Historical Society will have its annual lunch with a skit at the Byron United Methodist Church on Friday at noon.

At North Peach Park on Saturday, the festival gets into high gear with a concert by The Wall. Local musicians Steve Bloodworth and Al Scarborough formed the rock band in 1987.

There will also be a children’s area, a bungee jump and 3-D fireworks. There will be 3-D glasses available.

Arts and crafts vendors along with food vendors will be on hand displaying their wares for festival-goers.

The next Saturday, Fort Valley will host its festivities starting with a parade at 10 a.m. June 14.

Entertainment at the gazebo will go on all day with singing and dancing groups, said Jane Hopeck, office manager of the festival.

The peach cobbler will be served starting at 2:30 p.m. June 14.

“It is good and people keep coming back,” Hopeck said of the draw of the cobbler.

The same recipe has been used for 23 years, and one of the best things about it is that it is free, she said.

At the courthouse square parking lot, a concert by Grains of Sand will start at 8 p.m. There will also be at least 50 arts and crafts vendors downtown in Fort Valley.

The fireworks will take place about 9 p.m.

The main focus is what the county and the festival are named for.

“Of course, we will have peaches for sale from local peach farmers,” Hopeck said.

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