Pauls Valley Democrat
As the Stratford Peach Festival has stood the test of time and welcomed back families each and every year, perhaps the most popular element outside of the fruit in the name is the annual car show.
Overseen for the second year in a row by Stratford Chamber of Commerce member Wes Westbrooks, it takes quite a bit of preparation to make sure everything is ready for the sweet rides. He will be up in the wee hours of the morning at 7 a.m. to help find spots for those dedicated to their wheels, many of them coming in from much farther than the small communities inside Garvin County.
To try and accommodate the flood of competitors, they will even be leaving registration open until about 10:30 the morning of the festival this Saturday and Westbrooks will be there working the booth throughout the day.
“They’ve got some good display vehicles coming this year,” said Westbrooks, who couldn’t say no to being a part of local activities not long after he moved to the area and took a job at Bank First a few years ago. “We decided this year to take registration that morning.”
The available categories one can enter covers just about any enthusiast’s tastes, including options from muscle cars from the late 1950s to present, pickups, street rods of all eras to original models and unfinished.
Westbrooks even likes to joke a bit about owning a classic car of his own, a 1967 Ford Mustang that didn’t hold the distinction at the time since it was only eight years old when he owned it.
However, making the scene stand out even more to meet a growing number of requests is the big new addition of the motorcycle classes. This includes all stock, chopper and trike models.
“Some folks in the community asked about it and we thought it was a good idea,” said Westbrooks. “We have a lot of bike riding enthusiasts.”
The entry fee to participate is $25 and the hope is to have all the judging done no later than noon, with trophies ready to award no later than 1 p.m.
Westbrooks is confident people will show up in droves as they always do and brave the heat for a day that creates its own community in the park.
“I don’t know exact numbers, but it does get into several thousand for the entire festival,” said Westbrooks. “We’ll be pretty well slammed from the moment we get there until the show is over.”
Other events making a return include:
• 5K Bulldog Run and 1 Mile Fun Run at 6:30 a.m. as well as the free pancake breakfast in the FFA Barn from 7-9 a.m.
• Peach Cook-Off, hay toss and performances by the Chickasaw Troupe in the park pavilion at 9:30 a.m.
• Best dressed and Ugliest Dog Contest at 10 a.m.
• Peach Judging, sack races for kids at 10:30 a.m.
• Water balloon toss at 10:45 a.m.
• Money in the haystack at 11 a.m.
• Decorated turtle races at 11:15 a.m.
• Hula hoop contest at 11:30 a.m.
• Frisbee throw at 11:45 a.m.
• Three legged race for the adults at noon.
• All day helicopter rides, performances by musicians and vendors.
• 78th Annual IRPA Rodeo July 18-20 each evening at 8 p.m.
For more information call the chamber office at 580-759-3300 or Westbrooks directly at 580-759-2326. Registration forms ready before the day of the festival can be turned into the chamber office in Stratford.