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34th Leitersburg Peach Festival features food, crafts and more

August 10, 2013|By MATTHEW UMSTEAD | matthewu@herald-mail.com
  • C.M. Miller, left, and Dorma Jones of Luray Va., buy peaches from Ivy Hill Farm volunteer Larry Cassell Saturday afternoon at the annual Leitersburg Peach Festival.
By Joe Crocetta / Staff Photographer

LEITERSBURG, Md. — The 300 gallons of peach ice cream turned for the small community’s popular two-day festival in northern Washington County was in high demand, too.

Some things never change, thankfully.

“Pretty much tastes the same ... creamy,” said Gloria Robinson, smiling as she and her husband, Vince, savored the last of their frozen treat served in a small white Styrofoam bowl at Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park.

The festival, the Leitersburg Ruritan Club’s largest annual fundraiser, continues Sunday from noon to 5 p.m., in the park behind Leitersburg Fire Hall. Admission is free.

Every year, and probably for the last 20, the Robinsons of Waynesboro, Pa., say they have driven the few miles from their home to Leitersburg for the festival’s ice cream.

Gloria Robinson said she also likes the pork BBQ and the animals featured in the petting zoo.

Carol and Larry Pereschuk of Keedysville said they come every year for the ice cream, too, but also were taking home butterfly and dragonfly copper lawn ornaments created by a Midlothian, Va., metal sculptor.

“He wears (the ice cream) better than I do,” said Carol Pereschuk, laughing as she pointed to her husband’s slim build.

The 34th edition of the festival this year features more than 100 vendors and more than 40 donated items to be raffled, including a quilt, Ruritan Club spokesman Bruce Melton said.

In past years, all that was raffled was a quilt, and the number of vendors has continued to grow, Melton said. 

Also new to this year’s festival was the crowning of the first Miss Leitersburg Peach Festival’s Outstanding Teen.

Emma Baer, 14, of Hagerstown said she is excited to be the first to hold the title after leading the festival’s short tractor parade through the festival grounds Saturday afternoon.

Baer, who threw out peach-flavored lollipops to the children, will spend the year serving the Ruritan Club.

Melton welcomed the volunteer support of the festival from the Miss Smithsburg/Miss South Mountain Scholarship Organization, which brought the new outstanding teen title to the festival.

“The community really pitches in during the festival,” Melton said of the dozens of volunteers who help pull it off each year.

The Ruritan Club uses the festival proceeds to help those in need in the community, as well as maintain common areas and street lighting. The club also supports two scholarships and a Boy Scout troop, among other community-minded efforts.

Scholarship organization Executive Director Tina Stephens said Baer was selected to hold the new title after volunteering with the scholarship organization for two years.

Baer said her platform is to partner with hospital and hospice officials to help reach out to young people who have lost loved ones. 

While the festival has grown over the years, fresh peaches for sale from nearby Barr Orchard and Ivy Hill Farm have been mainstays and fixtures of support, according to event organizers.

Tim Martin of Ivy Hill Farm said their peach crop this year is about two weeks behind due to cooler spring and summer weather.

Some varieties might not ripen until September, when they typically are done by the end of August, Martin said.

The peach harvest last year was substantially lower due to weather conditions, but Martin said 2013 has been “a good year,” and they have a full crop.

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