Peach festival plump with people

A medley of colors, textures and flavors kept patrons of the 2010 Palisade Peach Festival happy Saturday afternoon at Riverbend Park in Palisade. Thousands attended the festival from all over the country. In center photo, 8-year-old Meah Tavera of Grand Junction celebrates her win in the children’s peach-eating contest. The festival continues today with a Peach Fest Pedal-Paddle-Pedal race starting at 8 a.m.

With peach cuisine, a peach-eating contest and a peach parade, there certainly was no shortage of peaches at the 42nd annual Palisade Peach Festival this weekend.

The four-day event, which concludes today, is one of the state’s top agricultural events. Designed to promote one of the Grand Valley’s most important commodities, the event routinely draws thousands of visitors.

Though it’s too soon to know how many have attended, Leif Johnson, executive director of the Palisade Chamber of Commerce, said Saturday that it easily could be on par with last year’s event. More than 31,500 people attended in 2009.

“We don’t have the figures, but just eyeballing it, it looks like it’s a very successful festival,” Johnson said moments before Saturday’s peach-eating contest.

“The crowd has been very receptive. There’s a lot of interest. The agri-tours have been big in terms of interest, and the ‘Feast in the Fields’ events sold out both nights. We’ve been blessed with the weather, too.”

Today, the festival will feature a Peach Fest Pedal-Paddle-Pedal race, the Palisade Sunday Farmers Market and more tours of area orchards, vineyards, wineries and breweries.

The festival also offers numerous tours by bike and vans and a Colorado River float trip.

Daily admission is $4 for adults, $3 for children ages 6-12 and free for children under 5.

And anyone who arrives early gets a free, wait for it, peach.


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