Peach festival draws big crowd

August 15, 2004|by MARLO BARNHART

LEITERSBURG - Mother Nature gave the organizers of this year's Leitersburg Ruritan Peach Festival a break Saturday - it wasn't too hot or too sunny and the anticipated rain from Tropical Storm Charley held off.

Today may be a different story weather-wise. Tthose who attended the festival Saturday seemed to know that. Traffic was bumper-to-bumper heading into the small community north of Hagerstown on the first day of the 25th anniversary celebration devoted to the succulent fruit.

Rain or shine, the festival continues today from noon to 5 p.m.

"We just moved to the area, so this is our first time at the peach festival," Ron Smith said. He and his wife, Amy, who live in nearby Waynesboro, Pa., said they were enjoying the sights, sounds and tastes of the event.


Amy Smith said she and her husband plan to make the trip to the peach festival annually.

Terry Dahlberg and her husband, Eric, of Hagerstown, are veterans of the festival. Their first mission complete - buying peaches - the couple still were enjoying the activities at midday Saturday.

"We come every year," she said.

So, apparently, do many others. Two hours after the festival opened Saturday morning, northbound traffic on Md. 60 already was beginning to slow just past Hagerstown Cinema 10 on Leitersburg Pike.

At the turn into Leitersburg, the traffic came to a halt as motorists began trying to figure out where to park. Vehicles were beginning to pull off along Md. 60 around lunchtime so determined festivalgoers could begin the long walk to the park.

"I was going to stay and get a ham sandwich, but the lines were too long," said Harry Stevens of Boonsboro. So Stevens had to be content with his bag of peaches, which he said would become peach cobbler when he gets home.

Stevens' explanation for the huge crowds was a combination of good eating and good weather.

"I think a lot of people thought like me that it wasn't so hot and there wasn't any rain yet," he said.

Vicki Hastings of Maugansville said she would be baking a pie today with the peaches she purchased Saturday at the festival.

"I come every year for the peaches, which I always enjoy," she said.

In addition to peaches in every imaginable form, the festival also features barbecue, country ham and beef sandwiches, kettle corn and other items.

Crafters and folk artists are expected to be on hand again today along with a petting zoo, a train ride for children and several contests.

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