One of Alabama’s premier summer festivals is poised to draw thousands to the peach capital of Alabama this month.
Peach Jam Jubilee, held in Clanton the last Friday of June, drew 9,000 last year to the annual celebration ushering in the Chilton County peach harvest. This year’s festival, which is free of charge, is June 24.
Held downtown at Clanton City Park from 5 p.m. to 10 p.m., this year’s Jam will feature more than 130 arts, crafts, retailers and food vendors; hot air balloon rides; children’s attractions and live musical performances.
One reason for its popularity is Chilton County is Alabama’s most centrally located county, equally accessible to the entire state and on Interstate 65.
“The Peach Jam truly offers family fun for everyone,” said Lynsie Glasscock, executive assistant at the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, which organizes the event. “Each year we work to make the Jam bigger and better than the previous year.”
Peach Jam isn’t the only activity ringing in peach season. The next day, Saturday, June 25, will feature the annual Peach Parade through downtown Clanton at 9 a.m., followed by an auction at Jack Hayes Field.
Why all the fuss about peaches? Because Chilton is the largest peach-growing county in Alabama, hauling in an estimated 15 million pounds a year, according to the Alabama Cooperative Extension Service. Chilton outgrows its closest peach competitors, Limestone and Blount counties, by a whopping 15 to 1 ratio.
The county sports 3,500 acres of peach trees in 35 different varieties harvested from June to August, according to the Auburn University College of Agriculture.
Alabama overall ranks ninth in the country in peach production, providing 1.2 percent of the total U.S. peach crop.
“Alabama Power has always been – and is – a great steward for our communities,” said Van Forrister, Business Office manager for Alabama Power’s Clanton office. “We get involved with Peach Jam because the event brings thousand to our city and spotlights the area in a very positive way. It allows all attending to see what a great place Chilton County is to live or to raise a family.”