By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer
PORTER — Cool weather could mean good things and not-so-good things for this weekend’s Porter Peach Festival.
Cooler temperatures could bring more people to the festival, which runs Thursday through Saturday, said Peach Festival Chairman Roy Essary.
“I heard it could be at least 10 degrees cooler than it was last year,” Essary said. “It makes a major difference. People don’t like it when it’s 100 degrees plus, and it was close to 105 to 110 degrees last year.”
The National Weather Service said high temperatures on July 21, 2012, reached 104 in the Muskogee area.
“If they stay with the forecast, it should be in the mid-90s,” Essary said.
Perfect weather to entice thousands to Porter for a parade, a pageant, a peach basket auction, peach treat contests, street games and tractor pulls.
Oh, yes, and free Porter peaches with ice cream, Essary said.
“Between 2,000 or 3,000 come because of the peaches and ice cream,” Essary said. “We get through the line quickly, within an hour and a half to two hours.”
The free peaches will be served at 1 p.m. Saturday, highlighting the festival’s busiest day. Saturday festivities include a 5-kilometer run, a car/truck/motorcycle show and the annual Peach Festival Parade. The parade begins at 11 a.m. and will be followed at noon with the peach auction and announcement of winners of the cobbler, dessert and preserves contest.
However, cooler weather this spring and earlier this summer also delayed the peak peach harvest by two weeks, said Kent Livesay, co-owner of Livesay Orchards.
“We have plenty of peaches for this year’s crop,” Livesay said, adding that it might be August before the harvest peaks and there are more varieties.
He said redhaven peaches will be the most abundant variety this weekend.
That suits Pat Kerr just fine. She said she’s a big fan of redhavens.
“It’s the sweetness of it,” said Kerr, who works at the orchard.
Livesay said other types of peaches available this weekend could be Bel Air and John Boy.
“That’s a real good, sweet one,” Pat Kerr said, referring to the John Boy.
Beth Acree, a secretary at the Wagoner County OSU Extension Office, said she buys local peaches in abundance and enjoys them year-round.
“I freeze them flat,” Acree said. “You put them in a Ziploc bag and squeeze all the air out of it and lay them flat in the freezer. I still have some from last year.”
Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or email@example.com.
Porter Peach Festival schedule
• 4 p.m. — Festival vendors and inflatables open.
• 6:15 p.m. — Welcome, prayer, national anthem.
• 6:30 p.m. — Klondike 5 performs.
• 7:30 p.m. — Peach Pageant, South Main Street. Klondike 5 performs after pageant.
• 11 a.m. — Festival opens.
• 4 p.m. — Inflatables, food vendors open.
• 5 p.m.— Live newscast, street games.
• 5 to 7 p.m. — Entries accepted for peach cobbler, desserts and preserves contest at Porter Civic Center.
• 6:30 p.m. — Pet show.
• 7:30 p.m. — Antique tractor pull.
• 8 to 10 p.m. — Signs of Warning performs.
• 7 a.m. — Peach Classic 5K run.
• 8 to 11 a.m. — Peach Festival Car/Truck/ Motorcycle Show.
• 8:45 a.m. — Final entries for cobblers, desserts and preserves due at Civic Center.
• 9 a.m. — Festival opens.
• 10 a.m. — Bob Weeden and Iron Horse Band.
• 11 a.m. — Peach Festival Parade.
• Noon — Peach Auction. Cobbler, dessert and preserves winners announced.
• 1 p.m. — Free peaches and ice cream.
• 4 p.m. — Scavenger hunt.
• 5 p.m. — Street games.
• 6 p.m. — Talent contest.
• 7:30 p.m. — Antique tractor pull.
• 8 to 10 p.m. Open microphone and karaoke.