Peach festivals are a slice of Americana that can't be beat if the peaches beat the heat. This year, Oklahoma peaches were beaten to a pulp.
Things started out peachy keen. Despite February's bitter cold, predictions of a bumper crop came with the spring. The weather cooperated — until it didn't. An item in Sunday's Oklahoman summed it up: Due to drought and extensive heat, there were no peaches at the annual Stratford Peach Festival.
Stratford still had a bushel of activities, as did Porter, site of the other Oklahoma peach festival. Porter's peaches fared better than Stratford's, although it was colder in Porter last winter than in Stratford. Every year, peach growers sweat the early part of the season, after the trees start to bud and before the winter's done. A scarcity of luscious sweet peaches at a peach festival usually means cold weather came at the wrong time. This year the heat did.
Last weekend's festivals went on as scheduled, with a cobbler of games, carnival rides, peach queen coronations, etc. Fruit-themed festivals don't always depend upon fruit, as fuzzy as that notion might sound.
Pickyourown.org keeps track of the nation's peach festivals. If you want to attend an event where a lot of peaches are on offer, you'll have to travel. The website described the Stratford event as promising “something for everyone.” This was posted in mid-March — about the time the bumper crop was forecast and we all thought that “something” would include peaches.