June 3 - Byron, GA
June 10 - Fort Valley, GA
About the Festival
The Georgia Peach Festival was created in 1986 to honor peach growers for their contribution to our state's economy and to the food industry nationwide. It also is a great opportunity to showcase all the good things Byron and Fort Valley have to offer. The Peach Festival holds the distinction of being the only state-sanctioned food festival.
Between 1922-26, Fort Valley greeted the first peach blossoms in annual festivals of dance, song, elaborate pageants and delicious barbecue. These elaborate festivals were said to rival Mardi Gras and California's Rose Festiva and the events attracted the attention of National Geographic, the New York Times and Hollywood movie studios.Soon thousands from all over the world would make their way to Fort Valley each March. It has been reported that as many as 40,000 people descended on the town during the festival, which was ended in 1926 because it was too successful.
Sixty years later, in 1986, Fort Valley revived the historic festival, moved it from blooming season to harvest season and renamed it the Georgia Peach Festival. It was officially incorporated in 1988 as the Georgia Peach Festival, Inc., and 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 t-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 county’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.
The Georgia Peach Festival attracts between 7,000 and 10,000 visitors during festival week, including church group, senior center groups and charter bus tours. Activities begin in Byron the first weekend and move to Fort Valley the second weekend with activities in both cities throughout the week.
The festival committee's goal is to make this year's Peach Festival bigger and better than ever, attracting even larger crowds to the area through enhanced activities and more vendors. For more information on the Georgia Peach Festival call 478-825-4002.