The Georgia Peach Festival is a county-wide event which begins every year in the middle of June in Byron and wraps up with a big weekend of activities in Fort Valley.
The purpose of the Peach Festival is to honor peach growers for their contribution to the state's economy and to the food industry nationwide. The Peach Festival holds the honor of being the only state ?sanctioned food festival.
The first Georgia Peach festival was staged in Fort Valley in 1986. Officially incorporated in 1988 as the Georgia Peach Festival Inc., the festival was once directed by the Chamber of Commerce. Today a volunteer board plans, organizes and executes the complex job of putting on the festival.
The idea of a Peach Festival was conceived by Harold Peavy to promote Peach County and the peach industry that has contributed so much to the livelihood of the state of Georgia. Georgia ranks third in the nation in the annual production of peaches, with more than 15,000 acres of peach trees yielding more than 1.7 million bushels of peaches annually. More than half of that harvest is cultivated in Peach County alone.
The Georgia Peach Festival is partially funded by government partners such as the Peach County Board of Commissioners, Fort Valley Utility Commission, the City Governments of Byron and Fort Valley, the Byron Convention and Visitors Bureau and the Peach County tourism committee. In addition, funds are donated by local and regional businesses. Certain annual events staged prior or during the Peach Festival, produce revenue. These events include arts and crafts vendor fees, 5k race fees, golf tournament fees and local celebrity dinner fees. The sale of tee-shirts and festival-franchised merchandise also adds to the festival's income.
The Peach Festival Board of Directors is committed to promoting Peach County, to enhancing the civic pride of the countyâ??s residents and sharing the quality of life here with visitors. For four months prior to the start of the Peach Festival, the event is highly publicized with printed brochures distributed to Welcome Centers on I-75 and surrounding Chambers of Commerce and businesses.
The festival also uses radio and television ads, billboards, local newspapers and promotes the festival online at www.gapeachfestival.com. Festival promoters also distribute program books to all visitors during the festival. Banners with the names or logos of all major sponsors and local peach growers are placed across Hwy. 49 in downtown Fort Valley the week prior to the Festival.
The Georgia Peach Festival attracts between 7,000 and 15,000 visitors during festival week, including church and senior center groups and charter bus tours. Many festivalgoers stay throughout the week to participate in activities offered in both Fort Valley and Byron.
For more information on the Georgia Peach Festival call 478-825-4022 or toll free 1-87-PEACHES.