MuskogeePhoenix.com, Muskogee, OK

July 21, 2013

Peach festival draws crowd to celebrate juicy fruit

By Cathy Spaulding
Phoenix Staff Writer

— PORTER — As the clock ticked closer to 1 p.m. Saturday, Porter’s most popular spot proved to be it’s fire station.

Porter school cheerleaders and other volunteers served hundreds of bowls of peaches and ice cream in the shade of the fire truck bays. And hundreds of hungry visitors at the Porter Peach Festival were ready to partake.

“It’s good,” said Muskogee resident Wilma Kincaid as she stood by a huge fan and savored the frozen treat. “I come every year. It’s always good.”

Peach Festival Chairman Roy Essary said attendance at this year’s festival “looks like it might be up a bit from last year.”

Porter Junior High cheerleader Gracee Drywater said she was ready for the bigger crowds. She spent the noon hour Saturday chopping at frozen peaches before serving them with the ice cream.

“I don’t think last year was as big as this year,” said Gracee, who is in her second year of serving peaches and ice cream. “I think we’ll do more business.”

Any shady place proved to be a top draw Saturday — big trees, canvas pop-up pavilions, umbrellas, even umbrella hats.

Coweta friends Gracie Burnside and Ella Harmon found a cool spot to enjoy peaches away from the crowd. They sat on steps of a Hiland Dairy ice cream truck.

“We rode horses in the parade,” said Ella, 9, who was with a 4-H Club horse group. “It was fun, but very hot.”

“The second we got off the horses, we changed into our shorts, said Gracie, 10.

Amanda Berry of Muskogee made sure she got an early place in the ice cream line. Berry, her brother and her two kids waited by one of the station’s garage doors. She said she had been going to the festival for five or six years.

“We were here for 10 minutes,” she said around noon Saturday. “No one is here yet, and that’s a good thing. You can never be too early for peaches and ice cream.”

Around noon, festival-goers packed Porter’s downtown as peaches were auctioned, as well as eaten. The auction featured baskets of redhaven and other types of peaches as well as a variety of peach treats. Essary said the auction raised $17,000, which will go for various projects of the Porter Lions Club.

Reach Cathy Spaulding at (918) 684-2928 or cspaulding@muskogeephoenix.com.