PEACHtober Brings New Life to a Louisiana Tradition
PEACHtober 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 Cookery Contest at Uptown Downtown is scheduled for Friday the 23rd, while 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.
Help us protect one another and keep our community safe:
· Recommend social distancing (use the 6-foot rule)
· Wear a mask
· Wash or sanitize your hands often
· Concert attendees are encouraged to bring a camp or lawn chair.
About Peach Fest
The Louisiana Peach Festival is a family-oriented event produced by the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
Pets, other than service dogs, are not allowed at the festival.
History of the Louisiana Peach Festival
There’s no doubt that the Louisiana Peach Festival brings about a time of excitement in the town of Ruston, LA. From a weekend full of festivities, awesome food, and great laughter, it is an event that you do not want to miss. With great success comes great history that dates back many years.
The festival was born in the late 1930s when several commercial peach orchards were located in Lincoln Parish. In 1947, the area peach growers organized the Louisiana Fruit Growers Association. In 1951, the decision was made to promote their industry by spreading word throughout Louisiana and surrounding states of the excellent taste of Lincoln Parish Peaches.
Through extensive hours of planning and sleepless nights for several months, plans to hold an annual Louisiana Peach Festival were placed on the drawing board in June 1951 by J. E. Mitcham, president of the Louisiana Fruit Growers Association, and Walter Smith, chairman of the first Louisiana Peach Festival. Advertisements were placed everywhere from newspapers, to banners, and placards headlining the popular Dixie gem peach.
The first Peach festival was held on June 27-28, 1951, and achieved far greater success than any of the sponsors expected. The event consisted of “Peaches and Posies” flower show, a peach cookery contest, an art show, several athletic tournaments, and the crowning of the First Queen Dixie Gem and Princess Peach.
It was no surprise that the Louisiana Peach festival grew in size and popularity. In 1952, its activities doubled in attendance. In its third year, the festival won national attention when Queen Dixie Gem III, Dorothy Elta Goff, traveled to Washington D.C to present then Vice President Richard Nixon a box of peaches.
After years of success, the festival began taking a turn for the worst as financial issues began to arise. The worsening national financial recession of the early 1980s threatened the future of the festival. In May 1982, three former festival chairmen reluctantly forecast the collapse of the event stating that if additional funds were not provided, the festival's days would be limited. At one time, the state contributed to the Louisiana Peach Festival; however, the festival had been financed independently, and each year the directors of the Association were forced to seek additional sources of money. Through God’s grace, the Lincoln Parish Police Jury and many other individuals came to the aid and the 1982 festival was held.
The uncertain conditions surrounding the 1982 Festival spurred the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce into action. In January 1983, the Chamber voted to accept and sponsor the Louisiana Peach Festival with the Ruston-Lincoln Convention and Visitors Bureau. Concerns were still questioned on how to fund an even bigger and better festival. By the 1990s, the festival included an arts and crafts show, a rodeo, and the events spread over a 2-week period. The festival continues to draw large number of attendees even though the festival has been shortened to a weekend event. It continues to pump around $2 million in the local economy.
PEACHtober 2020 will be here before we know it. We would like to invite you to become part of the single largest event in our community by joining our Volunteer Program. We encourage you to sign up with family, friends, or co-workers who you are in contact with as to avoid being scheduled with strangers. This will help in our efforts to stay safe from COVID.
The 2020 festival will be held on Saturday, October 24. This moved from the original June date was made due to COVID-19.
Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to our community - plus it's just plain fun to visit with folks you haven't seen in a while. The Peach Festival is the perfect opportunity to get your family or your staff to volunteer together in a community-wide event. Our volunteer program partners you with the festival staff and other volunteers to become part of a team that brings the festival to life. There is plenty to do, both behind the scenes, as we get ready for the festival and during the event. Volunteer shifts are three hours. Each volunteer will receive a special volunteer t-shirt and a weekend pass. During the festival, there will be a volunteer tent that will be stocked with cool water, food, and refreshments for our volunteers staff.
Applications are processed and assignments made on a first-come, first-serve basis. No applications will be accepted on event days. If you need additional information, please contact the Chamber at (318) 255-2031 or email email@example.com
North-Central Louisiana offers a peach-perfect climate for growing delicious peaches and other produce. Visit any of the excellent orchards and farms in our region for fresh fruits and vegetables throughout the year.
Fresh peaches are available during peach season.
Saturday, October 24 (only)
Saturday, October 24 Events
|All Weekend||Peach Art Exhibit||Downtown Merchants' Windows|
|All Weekend||Baby Photo Contest Viewing||Windows of The Children's Shoppe
(109 N. Trenton St.)
|8 a.m.||Tennis Tournament||Ruston Sports Complex
|8 a.m.||Kids' Fishing Tournament||Lincoln Parish Park
|8 a.m. - 5 p.m.||Peach Hunt||Ruston|
|8 a.m. - 6 p.m.||MakersPlace Craft Show||Sexton Parking Lot|
|8 a.m. - 6 p.m.||Hay Maze||Sexton Parking Lot|
|8 a.m.||Rupert Lange||Railroad Park|
|9 a.m.||Ariana Miskowski||Railroad Park|
|10 a.m.||Will Dinnat||Railroad Park|
|10 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Stilt Walker||Sexont Parking Lot|
|10 a.m. - 2 p.m.||Meet Adoptable Dogs!||Railroad Park|
|11 a.m.||James Linden Hogg||Railroad Park|
|12 p.m.||Concert: Victoria Wells||Railroad Park|
|1:30 p.m.||Concert: Micah Kennedy||Railroad Park|
|3 p.m.||Concert: Piano Man Jack||Railroad Park|
|4 p.m.||Concert: Ducada Vega||Railroad Park|
|5 p.m.||Concert: Zach O'Neil||Railroad Park|
|8 p.m.||Rodeo||North La Exhibition Center
(165 Fairgrounds Rd.)
|8:30 p.m.||Concert: The Chee Weez
(Headliner: Cover Band)
Events listed here begin or occur during the week before the festival. Click an event image for more details.
Click an event image for more details.
Click an event image for more details.
All musical acts will be performing on the Hampton Inn Ruston Railroad Park Stage.
Click an event image for more details.
Saturday, October 24
- Jim Taylor Ford Gate at Sexton Lot
- St. Francis Medical Center Gate at Vienna St./Railroad Park
- Courtesy Chevrolet Gate at Trenton St./Railroad Park
- Green Clinic Exit Gate at Park Ave./Sexton Lot
- Merchandise Tent sponsored by Northern Louisiana Medical Center at Park Ave. by Railroad Park
Forms & Registrations
Select the tabs below to access required forms. Completed applications may be submitted via any of the methods noted here: scanned and emailed, faxed, mailed or dropped off at Chamber, or scanned and uploaded through this site. For submission numbers, addresses, and links, see our Contact Section.
Thank you to each and everyone who volunteered to help make the 2020 Louisiana Peach Festival "PEACHtober" a success! It couldn't happen without you!
Volunteering is an excellent way to give back to our community - plus it's just plain fun to visit with folks you haven't seen in a while. Volunteer shifts are 3 hours. Registered volunteers receive a free admission and a t-shirt.
Please call (318) 255-2031 for vendor information.
Exhibitor Registration Forms
Exhibitor contests are now closed.
Performer Online Registration
Event Registration Forms
Please check back later for 2021 Event Forms.
Buy PeachFest Stuff
Get Your 2020 #LaPeachFest Swag
Buy t-shirts and posters featuring the 2020 #LaPeachFest theme "PEACHtober."
Mouse-over or tap the images below for artist information and pricing. Prices include tax. Phone or email orders requiring shipment will incur an additional $4 shipping fee per item.
One Size: $20
The Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce would like to thank all our generous sponsors for their support of the 2020 Louisiana Peach Festival!
Click a letter to scroll the sponsors list to those sponsors.
Paid Political Advertising, not an Endorsement from the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce.
Get In Touch
Organizers of the Louisiana Peach Festival can be contacted by calling or emailing the Ruston-Lincoln Chamber of Commerce, or by submitting the contact form here.
Need to upload a completed registration or application? Don’t forget to select Submit a Completed Form as the Inquiry Type to reveal the upload field.