People visiting Peach County can expect two jam-packed weekends full of free family activities at the 32nd Georgia Peach Festival.
The festival will kick off activities Friday and Saturday in downtown Fort Valley and will continue June 9 at North Peach Park in Byron.
“We have something for everybody,” said Tisa Horton, CEO of the Georgia Peach Festival. “We are doing a kick-off celebration on that Friday, June 1 at 6 p.m. ... We have a local DJ that will be doing a variety of music, The Peach Line Band, and we will have a dance instructor giving info about how to do line dances.”
Other local talent will perform as well, and 8:30-10 p.m. the Family Foam Party will take place.
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“People will be dancing in the spray foam,” Horton said.
Another new activity will be helicopter rides. Horton said the rides will be provided Friday and Saturday at Fort Valley Festival Park, on U.S. 341 going toward Perry. The cost is $25 per person, and three people can ride for 20 to 25 minutes on a pre-determined flight pattern.
One of the biggest attractions at the event is the “World’s Largest Peach Cobbler.” This year, Rich Bennett, the county’s information systems manager who typically oversees the peach cobbler, along with two guest chefs, Maurice Randal from the Bahamas and Simone Bridges, a Floridian with roots in Peach County, will make the cobbler. The baking will start at 4 a.m. Saturday, and cobbler will be served to the public at 2 p.m.
Measuring 11 by 5 feet and 8 inches deep, the cobbler consists of 90 pounds of butter, 150 pounds of sugar, 150 pounds of flour, 32 gallons of milk and 75 gallons of Georgia peaches, which are donated by Lane Southern Orchards and Pearson Farms.
More than 40 food and arts and crafts vendors as well as some food trucks will also be at the festival. Georgia peaches and Georgia peach flavored Coca-Cola will be available for sale.
On Saturday, The Class Act Band from Fort Valley, which plays jazz and classic R&B, will perform at 6 p.m. at the courthouse. Several other guests, including 2018 Miss Georgia Peach Kelsey Hollis, 2016 Miss America Betty Cantrell, and The City Band, based out of Atlanta, will also perform. Free music will continue at 4 p.m. Sunday with Beautiful Sheriff, which will perform a senior harp recital with the Middle Georgia Harp Ensemble at the Austin Theatre in downtown Fort Valley.
For the kids, Horton said there will be a reading in the park at noon Saturday, with two Georgia-grown authors sharing their books. Brenda Wilkerson will be reading “Zipping through the Alphabet” and Janice Fry will share “Be on Your Way” and “Break Down These Walls.” The Kids Zone will be located in the downtown area and will have amusement rides, inflatables and hamster balls. The kids zone will be open 6-8 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m.-6 p.m. Saturday.
On June 9 in Byron, Horton said the festivities will open at 3 p.m. with live music, arts and crafts vendors, and food vendors. There will be music from Josh Carson, a Georgia-grown Southern rock guitarist/singer; John King, a Georgia-grown, country music singer; and Blair Mathews, a country music singer from Nashville, Tennessee. The kids zone will include an inflatable water slide as well as other amusement rides and inflatables.
A fireworks show will conclude the night at 9:45 p.m. Saturday in Fort Valley and 9:45 p.m. June 9 in Byron .
“The down-home spirit, hometown spirit of the community within Peach County makes the festival so popular,” said Eric Rumph, festival co-chairman.