Pauls Valley, OK, Pauls Valley Democrat

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July 16, 2014

Peach festival adding to already packed day — Whether one makes precious memories spending a summer day with friends and family or can’t wait to bite into the region’s famous fruit, there’s a lot of reasons to return to the Stratford Peach Festival.
Hoping to add even more to the already packed event this Saturday are those like Stratford Chamber of Commerce President Jason O’Neal. Attending and coordinating the event for the first time, he’s excited because they are adding a lot of new activities, vendors and entertainment that will offer excuses to stay around into the evening.
“I’m real excited to be a part of it,” said O’Neal. “See the changes, new vendors. It should be pretty good.”
Some of the new features include a mechanical bull ride, a chance for visitors to take their picture with a live black bear and the Oklahoma City Thunder Experience.
There’s also a benefit concert at high school football field from 4 to 7 p.m. that will raise money for community features like a new pavilion.
However, what has O’Neal the most excited is the level of participation by everyone in town from the businesses who are doing more to help promote the event to an increase in volunteers.
“We’ve got our committee out there, kids from Stratford going to be helping out there,” said O’Neal. “We started planning process a little earlier this year.”
Per recent tradition, it will begin again with the 5K bulldog run at 6:30 a.m. in the park. After that, the popular pancake breakfast is back in the FFA barn from 7 to 10 a.m.
Other popular events returning include the car show from when the gates open at 8:30 a.m. until trophies presented at 3 p.m. There are also kid favorites like the best dressed animal at 10 a.m. and the sack races at 10:30 a.m.
One item with minor changes is the Peach Idol, which will be done entirely at the festival this time and will need people at the pavilion no later than 2 p.m. Contestants will need to sign in, pay $25 entry fee and give a CD with their name on it.
Prizes this time include age group $50 for 0-13 age group, $75 for the 14-21 age group, $100 for those 22 and older and $200 for the overall winner.
“We’ve done this year after year,” said O’Neal. “We’re happy to see other people wanting to be involved.”
O’Neal promised that there will be peaches at the festival this time around, something that was lacking as farms kept their crop to their roadside stands last year. O’Neal noted how that will go nicely with the treats like peach tea and ice cream that will be offered as well as the Peach Cook-Off in the pavilion from 9:30 to 10 a.m.
“The growers said they have a really good crop this year,” said O’Neal. “They have an even better crop than last year.”
Other events scheduled include:
* Peach royalty intro at 9:15 a.m.
* Chickasaw dance troupe at 9:20 a.m.
* 9:30 a.m. hay toss.
* 10:30 - 10:45 a.m. - Peach judging/auction (Pavilion)
* 11 a.m. - Water balloon toss.
* 11:30 a.m. - Money in the haystack kids game.
* Car parade at 11:55 a.m.
* Noon. - Peach Royalty Introductions.
* Noon - 3-Legged team races for the adults.
* 1 p.m. - Hula hoop contest.
* 1:30 p.m. - Frisbee throw.
* 2 p.m. - Decorated turtle & turtle races.
* Peach ice cream for sale by chamber until 3 p.m.
* 3 p.m. - Free ice cream at chamber booth.

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