Peach auction raises $50,000
Published 9:54 am Monday, June 27, 2022
By JOYANNA LOVE | Managing Editor
The Clanton Lions Club raised a record-setting $50,000 with this year’s peach auction on June 25 as a part of the 75th anniversary Chilton County Peach Festival.
“I have been doing it 45 years, and I never ever dreamed I would see this happen,” Peach auction chairman Glenn McGriff said. “We have some great people in Chilton County. Great business people, great farmers — we have people that love our county and want to give back to the community.”
All funds raised will be used to support local nonprofits and the Alabama Lions Sight program, which provides eyecare for those who could not otherwise afford it.
McGriff said raising the amount they did was “unbelievable,” and he was “thankful” to the peach farmers and the community members that made it possible.
There were 31 baskets hoping for the top spot in the peach auction judging this year.
“We typically have 20-22 baskets … so a significant increase (this year),” Alan Childress, president of Clanton Lions Club, said.
Part of this increase was some growers bringing multiple baskets and some new growers participating.
“We tried to make sure we visited every grower,” Childress said.
Childress said the increase in participation was probably also partially due to it being the 75th anniversary.
In the end, the judges chose one of Mountain View Orchards’ baskets of July Prince as the first-place winner. The basket was auctioned off for $10,000 to Mark McKinnon of McKinnon Toyota/Nissan.
Mark McKinnon said the purchase was in memory of his father Wayne McKinnon, who passed away on July 6, 2021.
Once all the baskets were auctioned off, the total of funds raised came to $49,525. Exit Royal Realty stepped up with a donation in addition to the basket the business had purchased to make the total an even $50,000.
“We have a great county,” McGriff said.
He said the Chilton County Chamber of Commerce, the City of Clanton and the Clanton Lions Club had all partnered to coordinate efforts this year.
“It just goes to show you what you can do when you come together as a county,” McGriff said.
McGriff recalled how the late Mark Knight, who had placed in the peach auction several times, had been passionate that the peach auction needed to move from the indoor venue it had for the past few years to an outside venue.
“I told somebody today, ‘I bet you Mark is smiling now because we moved it back outside and $50,000,’” McGriff said.
The top five baskets receive a cash prize. Each grower receives $50 for their bushel of peaches.
Top 15 Peaches
First place: July Prince from Mountain View Orchards sold to McKinnon for $10,000 in memory of Wayne McKinnon
Second place: Lucky 13 from C&J Farms sold to Ellison Funeral for $7,000 in honor of the Chilton County peach growers
Third place: Fire Prince from Henry and Suzanne Williams sold to Farmers Federation for $5,500
Fourth place: Lucky 13 from Knight Farms sold to Chilton Contractors for $4,000
Fifth place: Lucky 13 from M&M Farms sold to Mickey Bates for $2,000
Peach Festival Peach from Chilton Research and Extension Center sold to MorLyn’s Fine Jewelry for $2,000
Harvester from Evans Farms sold to River Bank for $1,400
July Prince from Mountain View Orchards sold to Raleigh’s Place for $1,100
Lucky 13 from Jerry Harrison sold to John Deere Sun South for $1,000
Lucky 13 from Jerry Harrison sold to Chilton County Republican Party for $1,000
July Rose from Chilton Research and Extension Center sold to Exit Royal Realty for $1,700
July Prince from Burnette Farms sold to Martin Funeral Home for $750
Lucky 13 from C&J Farms sold to Van Smith for $750
Caro King from Henry and Suzanne Williams sold to Payton Equipment for $800
Harvester from J&J Produce sold to Agriculture Commissioner Rick Pate for $800