Tradition is strong, but some things will be different this year at the Lexington County Peach Festival in Gilbert.
For one, politicians likely will play second fiddle to local baseball stars who play for Coastal Carolina, winner of the College World Series last week.
Mike Morrison and Connor Owings, both Gilbert High alums, will ride in the parade and sign autographs afterward. The team won last week in its first appearance in the series, something that hasn’t happened in almost as long as the peach festival has been around.
The festival is a small-town slice of Americana. Since 1959, it’s been a traditional commemoration of the country’s birthday.
“If you’re teary-eyed when you hear Ray Charles’ version of ‘America the Beautiful’ or get a lump in your throat when the American flag is presented, then you will enjoy celebrating the 4th of July with us,” festival spokeswoman Robin McCartha said.
But a little change never hurt anyone. So some other things will be different this year, too:
▪ All-terrain vehicles are no longer allowed in Gilbert Community Park – the festival’s home – and the surrounding area. But golf carts are permitted if they’re within 4 miles of the owner’s home.
▪ A welcome tent will greet visitors at the park entrance to answer questions and direct visitors after it was tested last year and deemed a success. Here’s hoping it’s a big tent: It’s where Morrison and Owings will sign autographs.
Tim Flach: 803-771-8483
EAT A PEACH
The festival runs from 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. and features peaches of all kinds – peach cobbler, peach sundaes, peach slush, peach tea and peach delights. There’s also a parade, live entertainment and a local art contest.
The parade starts at 9:30 a.m. on Hampton Street and ends at Main and Hayes streets.
At noon, there will be a reading of the Declaration of Independence at the amphitheater.
The fireworks start at 10 p.m. behind Gilbert Primary School.