When visitors go on a farm tour this summer at Lane Southern Orchards outside Fort Valley in Peach County they will learn more than how peaches and pecans are grown and gathered.
They will get to see, up close, what a 1927 school bus looks like.
Fort Valley-based Blue Bird Body Co. has provided Lane a custom-built replica of the Blue Bird No. 1 school bus specially made to accommodate tour groups.Lane gets about 300,000 visitors annually and gives tours to about 5,000 people a year, said Wendy Barton, marketing director of Lane Southern Orchards.
“It’s just going to be bringing the old Blue Bird first bus made in 1927 to give the kids and the other groups a feel of what it was like back in 1927,” Barton said. “It doesn’t have windows — it has a tarp that folds up for the windows — a kind of step back in time.”
The bus, which was unveiled Tuesday, is the first of two Blue Bird will provide for Lane.
Until now, Lane gave tours using a tram pulled by a Jeep, Barton said.Blue Bird approached Lane with the idea of building and providing the replicas, she said.
“We thought it would tie in well,” with the farm tours offered in June and July and the corn maze tours in October, she said.
Tours are offered to groups or individuals from 10 a.m.-5 p.m. seven days a week, she said.
Blue Bird makes three different types of school buses with a variety of options and configurations. It has been in business more than 80 years and has more than 1,500 employees.
Lane, which now totals about 5,000 acres, has been growing peaches and pecans for more than 100 years. It has the capacity to pack and ship 1 million, 25-pound carts of peaches each season. The company not only offers farm products, but it has a restaurant, bakery and offers catering.
To contact writer Linda S. Morris, call 744-4223.