Parker County Today July 2017 - Page 56

Nadeen Murphree with her hand-made Peach Festival Quilt 54 Parker County for years for the Peach Festival. The first year of the festival offered numerous peach- themed attractions from a food contest to live music. The festival held raffles, giving away great prizes for only $1 a ticket.  “It’s a story where you only have to buy one ticket, and that’s what I did,” said Elane Hardaway, whose fami- ly owns Back to Yesterday Antiques. “They had a booth set up by the Parker County [Sheriff’s] Posse, and they were raffling off a baseball signed by Nolan Ryan, and this was right after he had done his big thing. I bought one ticket for one dollar, and I won. I have a little area in my home where I have it on display. That’s my best memory, and I love going to the peach festival.”  A beauty pageant for girls ages 3 to 19 was added to the festivities, though the pageant is not now and never has been an official part of the main festival. Special buttons were made for the first Peach Festival to commemorate this once free event.  The second Peach Festival, held July 12, 1986, had already outgrown its original venue and could no longer be held at the College Park Drive bank’s parking lot, and the festival had to be moved to Weatherford High School. (It’s now the Ninth-Grade Center.)   The 1986 Peach Festival kept all the original festivities, including the pageant, this year crowning Alice Aldridge queen. There were, however, a few more interesting aspects added, like the Peach Eating Contest and even a peach «pit» spitting contest. (Ah, the pageantry.)  The festival remained at the high school until 1988 when it was moved into Weatherford’s Historic Downtown Square, where it has been held every year since. Though the festival has grown tremendously in size, attendance and number of vendors, it still holds its core theme — the love of peaches and all things peach- like.  “The first year we were on the square, [Walter Worthington] rented a refrigerator and [gave out] peach drinks, and every hour on the hour they drew [names] for a bushel of peaches,” said Jimmie Lawson.  “It was always a family affair and a huge deal for us to go, said Paula Durant. It was never an option, we all had to go.” As a child, I would go with my mom, grand- mother and little sister,” “We attended the year it came to the square and I remember a lot of people. We would get a peach julep and peach cobbler. There was always a lot of people who brought their dogs out. I loved it and thought it was the coolest thing ever. I do wish they’d had the mister that they have now back then; that would have been nice.”  An arts and crafts festival, to this day all of the vendors must have items that are homemade, handmade, or hand-embellished in order to have a booth at the festi- val. In fact, 70 percent of the items must be peachy. Big companies are not allowed to use the Peach Festival to