Nice weather adds to event's success

August 10, 2008|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD

LEITERSBURG - Michael and Carolyn Priday's dwarf sunflowers soaked up the rays at the 29th Leitersburg Peach Festival Saturday while the Big Pool couple and thousands of others enjoyed a rare August day of low humidity, little sweat and a lot of fruitful tradition.

"To have a peach festival under 100 degrees is a gem," Michael Priday said while seated at his vendor booth at Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park.

Except for a chance of scattered thunderstorms today, weather conditions for the second day of the festival opening at noon are forecast to be pleasant.

Practically ideal weather through the peach growing season this year helped orchard owners Jeff and Bruce Barr compensate for fruit losses in a May hailstorm that reduced the family's crop by about one-third.


"They're just about perfect," Jeff Barr said of the Redhaven free stone peaches that he brought from the family orchard to sell at the festival.

Barr said he hoped to sell 600 half bushels at the two-day festival, which features more than 80 art and craft vendors and plenty of homemade peach dessert for sale - peach pie, peach cobbler, and peach ice cream. Festivalgoers can wash it all down with peach tea.

Members of the Leitersburg Volunteer Fire Co. and its auxiliary hoped to sell more than 600 pounds of roast beef, 200-plus pounds of country ham and hundreds of hot dogs and hamburgers to raise money for a new fire station.

"We're really hoping to get some donations for this building," said Chief Kirk Mongan. "Without citizens' support, it's not going to happen."

Now operating out of a converted gas station built in the 1940s, Mongan said the building's roof leaks and the heating system is antiquated.

Architectural designs of the new building projected to cost about $2 million were on display along with photographs of the department's firefighters in action to help the fire company raise awareness of their capital improvement need.

Leitersburg Ruritan President Bruce Melton said this year's pleasant weather conditions could help make the organization's 2008 festival the most successful yet. Proceeds generated by the club's annual quilt raffle, along with a special silent auction for an antique Coca-Cola cooler and food sales benefit the unincorporated community and those less fortunate, Melton said.

"All the money either stays in the area or goes to a cause," Melton said.

If you go ...

WHAT: Leitersburg Peach Festival

WHEN: noon to 5 p.m. today

WHERE: Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park, 21431 Leiter St., Leitersburg

COST: Free admission and parking

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