Hart’s hosts 30th and possibly last peach festival
— Despite the heat wave and a vehicle crash that backed up traffic on Turkey Point Road for about an hour Saturday, the annual Hart’s Peach Festival went off without much
of a hitch — possibly for the last time.
Scores of people worked their way through the 30th edition of the festival, which this year included five acts that performed in the church’s amphitheater and a number of tents selling products such as handcarved wooden pens and peach cobbler covered in peach ice cream.
The festival has been a yearly tradition since 1986, when church member Hank Passi had the idea to donate peaches from his North East business, Eagle’s Roost Farm & Orchard. Few peach festivals existed in the area, and it became apparent that the event could be an effective means of raising money for the church, Hart’s United Methodist.
Now that the congregation is aging and event preparation is less easily managed, Hart’s UMC is considering calling an end to the tradition.
“We haven’t made the final decision, but this is probably the finale,” Passi said during the festival. “Nothing lasts forever.”
A large number of people showed up at noon for the start of the festival, Passi said. By about 3:30 p.m., church members had sold more than 150 of their peach pies. Those that did not sell would be given to local restaurants, members said.
Area puppeteer and entertainer Jack Foreaker sang the National Anthem to start the festivities and later performed his familyfriendly puppet act. Others sang for the small crowd watching in the amphitheater.
Rising Sun resident Kathleen Reed, 55, used to frequent the Hart’s Peach Festival before she and her husband David began going to another in North Carolina. But that one didn’t take place this year, so she came back to Hart’s.
Her favorite thing about it?
“The peach pie, definitely,” Kathleen. “The peach cobbler’s good, too, especially with a little ice cream on it.”
Younger individuals, like 20-year-old Caleb Hank Passi — the older Passi’s grandson — have been lifelong attendees at the festival. Caleb, who wore a Hart’s shirt and Eagle Roost’s hat to match Hank, said the two work together often, and he’s open to the idea of succeeding his grandfather in the farming business.
While that’s not on the table yet, the younger Passi spoke more certainly about how he’d feel if this year was the festival’s last.
“I grew up on it,” he said. “I would hope that it doesn’t end.”
Katie Reynolds, 78, displays a peach pie on sale at the Hart’s Peach Festival.
Sierra Maitland sings during the Hart’s Peach Festival on Saturday, Aug. 13.