— By BRIAN SMITH
An area tradition is all systems go this weekend.
The 29th Annual Parker County Peach Festival will hit the Weatherford downtown square Saturday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. More than 200 vendors, an expected crowd of 45,000 people on the square, and the annual Peach Pedal bicycle ride through the western half of the county will make for a busy day in the area.
Weatherford Chamber of Commerce President Tammy Gazzola said despite many local growers not having peaches because of freezing weather this spring, there will still be plenty of peaches to buy and enjoy in several tempting desserts.
“The peaches are a little harder to find,” Gazzola said. “We’ve invited several local growers to come. We will have lots of peachy treats, such as peach cobbler, peach ice cream and peach juleps for everyone to enjoy.”
With the expected crowds, the public is encouraged to use the free shuttles offered from Hall Middle School, Weatherford College and the WISD Ninth Grade Center. The First Monday Grounds off Santa Fe Drive will offer parking but no shuttles to the event.
All four quadrants of the square will be used with three stages for entertainment scattered throughout the area. The main stage in the First Baptist Church parking lot will have more country music acts. The children’s stage at the corner of Dallas Street and York Avenue will feature kids’ entertainment as well as some dance teams with the rock stage positioned in a parking lot at the corner of Spring and Waco Streets.
Admission is only $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Tickets may be purchased in advance for a discounted price of $4 at the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce office.
Gazzola said registrations for the Peach Pedal ride have been very steady. More than 2,200 riders have attended the event in the past and, with cooler weather continuing in the extended forecast, hopes for a big ride are planned. The ride benefits two great causes: scholarships and other assistance for students through the Weatherford College Foundation, and the Weatherford Chamber of Commerce.
The event will commence from Weatherford High School and have rides that range from 11 to 70 miles. Registration is $30 but increases to $35 the day of the event.
Packet pickups before the event are scheduled and encouraged. They are:
• Wednesday, July 10, 4 p.m. to 7 p.m. Fort Worth Cycling and Fitness, 3315 W. Cherry Lane, Fort Worth
• Friday, July 12, noon to 4 p.m. Weatherford High School (in “The Outback”), 2121 Bethel Road.
Registration and packet pickup can also be done from 6 a.m. to 8 a.m. the morning of at in the Outback to the east of the main school building.
After the ride, riders can take a shower at the high school and enjoy some live bluegrass music in the Outback. There will be plenty of snacks and drinks, including free burritos from Rosa’s Café, to help you cool down after an awesome ride.
Mechanical assistance is planned at every rest stop, with sag vehicles patrolling between the stops. The course will be well-marked, especially looking out for the very few rough spots on the new and improved routes. Helmets are required for all riders, and area law enforcement will assist with traffic crossings. All children 12 and under must be accompanied by an adult over the entire ride.
For information on the bike ride itself, including a course map, visit peachpedal.com. For information about the festival as a whole, including a map of the grounds, visit parkercountypeachfestival.org.