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Tip of the hat to growers, organizers

Congratulations are in order this morning for the hundreds of people who planned and carried out Peach Festival activities this year.

By far the biggest annual event in Chilton County, the weeklong celebration has grown in the past 60 years to include many activities that bring people back to our county year after year to join in the fun.

Designed to give recognition to all those who participate in the peach industry here, the festival has maintained this purpose for decades. The festival helps bring more recognition to our most famous crop and to those who toil every year to produce the best peaches anywhere, bar none.

In most cases, work on the many festival events begins several months before the special week. Many people donate their time and efforts in order for all of us to enjoy the festival each year. I appreciate their willingness to keep our festival exciting and growing each year.

For many years, the Clanton Jaycees were the main force behind the festival. Later, the responsibilities of organizing the events were passed to the Clanton Lions Club. The Lions Club and its Peach Festival chairman, Richard Davis, have improved the festival by encouraging and working with other organizations to sponsor events during the seven-day festival.

The Peach Festival this year was truly a county-wide event that included everything from beauty pageants to a fishing tournament. The variety of available events provided entertainment or opportunities to participate for everyone.

Having lived in Peach Country for more than three decades, I never cease to be amazed by the fruit growers here who strive to produce the best fruit possible even when battered with late freezes, drought and even a hail storm or two. Even when they lose their crop due to weather, they remain determined and begin working on next year’s crop right away. They certainly have earned my respect.

I believe most Chilton County residents share my respect of the fruit producers, and I am glad that others are willing to work hard to produce a quality festival annually that recognizes them for their efforts.

Note: Mike Kelley is the publisher of The Clanton Advertiser. His column appears on Sundays.