Peach fest draws from near and far

Photo by Dean Humphrey—Zoe erickson, 5, finishes her peach in 1 minute, 44 seconds to win the children’s division of the peach-eating contest Saturday at the Palisade Peach Festival in Riverbend Park. With all the excitement, 2-year-old contestant Christopher Owens didn’t even take a bite out of his fruit. In the 12-year-old to adult division, Jose Travera was first by downing his peach in 7 seconds.

They like Palisade peaches in Gillette, Wyo.

Same goes for Denver and Boulder.

Gary Caletti, 61, of Monument, arrived in town Friday with his wife for his first taste of the Palisade Peach Festival, and he liked it so much, they stayed a second day.

“We had come over for the wine festival, but never peach fest,” said Caletti, adding he aimed to wrap up early Christmas shopping on Saturday in Palisade’s Riverbend Park.

Caletti said they made the trip this week because the 43rd annual Palisade Peach Festival fit better with their schedule. They’ll be back, he said.

“It’s nice to drive around and see 15-acre farms trying to make a go of it,” he said.

Susan Woll, who helped the Palisade Chamber of Commerce organize Saturday’s happenings, said attendees from outside the Grand Valley were commonly from Colorado’s Front Range or Utah. Several said they made the trip from Colorado Springs, she said.

“Many said they were from here and were coming back,” Woll said.

George Hertzke, 79, of Fruita, drove over with his wife after recently returning to the Grand Valley to retire. His first festival was in 1948.

“I used to pick these peaches,” he said.


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