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Posted: 08/27/14

A PEACHY SHIRT. Above, Kelly Phalen, a junior at Romeo High School, and FAMs' T-Shirt and Designs Executive Manager Zack Hayes show off the 83rd Annual Michigan Peach Festival shirt. FAMs and the Romeo Lions Club held a contest to select the shirt's design, with Phalen's artwork chosen as the winner. Phalen said she was honored and excited that her design was chosen. The shirts are sold for $15 or two for $25 and a portion of the proceeds are donated to the Romeo Lions Club. The club, along with other entities like Romeo-Washington-Bruce Parks and Recreations, coordinate the Peach Festival.

(Observer photo by Chris Gray)

Traditions kept alive
during 83rd Peach Fest

Observer Staff Writer
      Start with three main ingredients: Traditions, good weather and plenty of activities.
       Throw in some peaches, mix, and you have the recipe that coordinators are using to bring the 83rd Annual Michigan Peach Festival to Romeo.
       The festival runs Labor Day weekend from Aug. 28 to Sept. 1 throughout the greater Romeo area.
       The Peach Festival originated in 1931 with former Village of Romeo President Edward Jacob, who sought an event that would bring people from all walks of life together to celebrate the peach harvest. It has been celebrated since then with the exception of a hiatus for World War II from 1942 to 1945.
       The Romeo Lions Club has taken over coordinating the festival, using it to bring in roughly 75 percent of its fundraising dollars to give to charity.
       Gary Schocke, Peach Festival president, said the festival draws in around 100,000 people during the weekend, with most crowds seen at fan favorites.
       "We get a lot of outside people from out of town attending the mainstay of the festival's usual events like the gambling tent, beer tent and carnival," he said.
       Schocke said the Peach Festival committee meets on a monthly basis to plan out the festival, and will evaluate how this year goes to figure out new or different events.
       "We just need good weather for the event," he said.
       The 23rd Annual 5K/10K run kicks off the festival on Thursday. From there, festival coordinators are bringing back events like the refreshment tent, Festival of Cars, North American Midway carnival and plenty of food vendors throughout the weekend.
       "We have a lot of events that carry over every year," Schocke said.
       Unique shopping opportunities await festival-goers. A farmer's market will set up shop on Saturday at Bailey and Lafayette streets, and craft shows will be held at Frontier Town and at the Croswell Center.
       Lynne Walker, the Croswell Extravaganza coordinator, said the craft show and business expo will have around 100 vendors selling everything from jewelry and homemade salsa to Tupperware, blankets and candles.
       "We have something for everybody there," she said.
       This is the fourth year for the festival's official craft show. Proceeds from the show, including admission and vendor fees, will be donated to the Lions Club and local causes like scholarships.
       Other fan favorites are the bed races, KidsFest and farmer's breakfast. Check this week's "What's Happening" section of The Romeo Observer website for more details on these events.
       Free shuttle services are available on Saturday and Sunday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., with stations at the Croswell Center, BP gas station, Frontier Town, Ford Engine Plant and Capital Banquet Center.

       Three parades and a car cruise will liven up Main Street on Sunday and Monday.
       On Sunday, the Lions Charity Car Cruise will feature hundreds of classic vehicles following the bed races. Behind them will be the Mummer's Parade with quirky but fun entries matching up to the theme of Rock'n'Roll.
       Kidstake over on Monday morning with the Children's Parade, with this year's theme of "the future." Entry applications are accepted for the parade until Aug. 29.
       The main event is the Floral Parade, set to take place on Main Street at 1:30 p.m. The parade has an average of 125 entries, including the Peach Queen, elected officials, first responders, Shriners and floats.
       The parades will be tape delayed and televised by WBRW-TV and Michigan Community Media.
       Romeo Police Chief Greg Paduch said Main Street will close down at 6:30 p.m. on Sunday night, 9:45 a.m. on Monday morning and again at 1 p.m. on Monday.
       The village will post signs around Main Street warning people to not tape off any areas or set up chairs or tents for parade-watching purposes until the day of the parade. Any items found prior to the allowed time will be confiscated.
       "We do it for safety -- in the past we have had people tripping over items at night," Paduch said.
       Additional festival information can be found by calling the Greater Romeo-Washington Chamber of Commerce at 586-752-4436, Parks and Recreation at 586-752-6543, or visiting

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