Chilton County celebrates 70 years of Peach Festival

Chilton County celebrates 70 years of Peach Festival
The peach is the star of the Chilton County Peach Festival. (Karim Shamsi-Basha / Alabama NewsCenter)

Is there any such thing as a platinum peach?

Probably not. But since platinum symbolizes a 70th anniversary, it would certainly be appropriate to bring to Clanton this week as Chilton County celebrates 70 years of the Peach Festival.

The Peach Festival has a $10 million economic impact on Chilton County. (contributed)

One of the state’s most popular festivals will attract some 10,000 revelers this Friday, June 23, as the annual Peach Jam Jubilee takes place from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m.

More than 110 vendors peddling food, arts and crafts, and games, along with a DJ, look to draw a family-friendly crowd to Clanton City Park to kick off the official start of the peach season.

Chilton is the state’s largest peach-growing county with 3,500 acres planted with 35 varieties. Peach Jam is one of many events during the two-week-long Peach Festival, started in 1947 by the Clanton Jaycees.

Events include a Peach Cook-Off; Peach Art Show; Peach Run; Peach Classic Car Show; and the Miss Peach Queen beauty contest. Festivities conclude Saturday, June 24, with the annual downtown Peach Parade at 9 a.m., punctuated by the annual Peach Auction.

“It’s a great time for our community to come together, but it’s also a great time for people around the state to come together to enjoy fun and fellowship and celebrate this year’s peach crop,” said Van Forrester, a board member of the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce.

Chilton County is in the geographical center of Alabama, making it convenient to reach from all corners of the state.

The Chilton County Peach Festival is celebrating its 70 year. (contributed)

New this year will be free admission to the popular Kids Zone area of rides and games. In previous years, a paid arm band was required for entrance. Also new will be a disc jockey providing music.

Alabama Power will be in the thick of things, said Forrester, business office manager of the Clanton office. The company is a sponsor of the festival. Members of the company’s volunteer group, the Alabama Power Service Organization, will contribute time to the event. Forrester, as a chamber board member, participates in the planning.

“Alabama Power has always supported chambers of commerce across the state for what they mean to their local areas,” Forrester says. “As a company, we focus more on retail and industrial development, since chambers are major players. But the fun events are important, too. They serve to give an identity to their communities and bring people together.”

The money the festival rakes in each year is peachy keen, generating an estimated $10 million economic impact for Chilton County.

For more information, see facebook.com/thechiltonchamber or call 205-755-2400.

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