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Peach Festival: 1-stop shop for end-of-summer fun

A+Fort+Collins+resident+goes+in+for+a+bite+of+a+fresh+peach+Aug.+19.+Presented+by+the+Rotary+Clubs+of+Northern+Colorado%2C+the+Peach+Festival+was+put+on+by+local+businesses+and+organizations.+The+festival+took+place+in+Civic+Center+Park+and+helped+raise+funds+for+the+Imagination+Library%2C+a+program+that+donates+books+to+children+in+Larimer+County.
Collegian | River Kinnaird
A Fort Collins resident goes in for a bite of a fresh peach Aug. 19. Presented by the Rotary Clubs of Northern Colorado, the Peach Festival was put on by local businesses and organizations. The festival took place in Civic Center Park and helped raise funds for the Imagination Library, a program that donates books to children in Larimer County.

On Saturday, Aug. 19, four Rotary Clubs of Fort Collins came together to hold the 13th annual Peach Festival. This festival holds a special place in Fort Collins’ heart because of its positive impact through the Rotary Clubs, along with an immense lineup of recreation.

The origin of the Peach Festival began with two clubs coming together for the community. The collaboration allowed the Peach Festival to take the initial shape as Pigs ‘n Pits, a barbecue and 5K run. In 2011, the event took the name Peach Festival, and through the years, the event has been held at the Gardens on Spring Creek, Hughes Stadium and the Holiday Twin Drive-In.

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The event this year was located at Civic Center Park in downtown Fort Collins. The activities included various local bands, plenty of beer options, a wide selection of food and snacks, face painting for the kids and other local businesses.

The festival was a collective effort between the four Rotary Clubs in Fort Collins and was intended to increase understanding of the clubs as well as their causes.

Kerrie Luginbill, a member and former president of the Rotary Club of Fort Collins, said the overarching goals of the Rotary Club are to help families with issues such as literacy and sanitation. This aligns with the mission of Rotary International, as their website says they aim to promote goodwill and unite the community.

“We take the funds that are raised, and they are distributed by the different clubs to a lot of organizations,” Luginbill said. “This year in particular, one of our core focuses was literacy in Larimer County.”

In addition to this festival supporting important causes, it was also an exciting event that gave attendees a glimpse into pre-COVID times. Civic Center Park, where the event was held, has easy access to parking garages as well as downtown Fort Collins. Although beer is present, upon arrival it was clear that this is a family-friendly event.

The park was scattered with children in face paint and smiling dogs happy to be out of the house. The festival layout was easy to navigate, with the music and beer set back from the main entrances, allowing visitors to pass vendors before finding the music.

Luginbill said the reason for free admission this year is to encourage foot traffic in Old Town in the wake of COVID-19. Free admission has not been the case for prior Peach Festivals, so Rotary’s commitment to serving the community can be felt even more this year.

One local beer vendor named Tatum Cochran, the general manager at Horse & Dragon Brewing Company, was asked how the Peach Festival makes Fort Collins a more enjoyable place.

“It’s just fun,” Cochran said. “There (are) a lot of festivals that are very specific; there are music festivals or beer (festivals), but this is everything. … There’s beer, there’s music, there’s local vendors, there are great ways to support our community. … Much of the money that Rotary is raising today goes back to our local communities.”

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Cochran illustrated perfectly what makes this festival such an important part of Fort Collins. The festival is not only fun for those who attend, but it refocuses our community to a shared, positive goal.

One volunteer, Zack George, spoke on his favorite aspects of the festival.

“People can congregate towards the end of summer and enjoy similarities in peaches and music,” George said.

The Peach Festival was a positive experience for many and kicked off the school year properly before a busy fall to come.

Reach Jack Fillweber at life@collegian.com or on Twitter @CSUCollegian.
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