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Stonewall Peach JAMboree is June 15-16

How many peaches can you eat? The peach-eating contest at the annual Stonewall Peach JAMboree is a popular event. File photo

STONEWALL — Fifty-seven years ago, Stonewall decided the best way to spread the word of its burgeoning peach crop and orchards was to throw a party and invite the whole state.

Though the entire state didn’t show up, the event caught on. The annual Stonewall Peach JAMboree continues to draw people to the small Hill Country town, where peach trees outnumber residents.

“The entire state is excited about the peaches here,” said Kim Baethge of the Stonewall Chamber of Commerce. “The Peach JAMboree, well, it’s a great celebration of the peach season and the community.”

The 2018 JAMboree is Friday-Saturday, June 15-16, at the chamber grounds, 250 Peach St. The event kicks off Friday with the Stonewall Peach JAMboree Rodeo. Tickets for the rodeo, which includes a dance following the event featuring up-and-coming country music artist Josh Ward, are $15 at the gate or online at stonewalltexas.com.

Gates open at 6 p.m with the first round of mutton bustin’ taking off at 6:45 p.m. A second heat is during the rodeo performance. There’s a $20 entry fee, and it’s limited to 50 youngsters.

The rodeo continues Saturday, but tickets are $20 because one of country music’s top-selling duets, the Bellamy Brothers, takes the stage after the competition. The mutton bustin’ also continues that night. Gates open at 6 p.m.

However, the rodeo is only part of the Peach JAMboree, Baethge pointed out.

“We have a lot of fun, family things going on during the day on Saturday,” she said.

Those things include a parade, competitions in all things peach, washer pitching, dominos, and more live music. Admission to the day activities is free with organizers throwing open the gates at 7 a.m.

Parade entries start lining up right after the gates open in preparation for the 10 a.m. parade.

Since peaches are the star of the weekend, they get plenty of attention with baking, preserves, and salsa contests. People can turn in their entries from 8:30-10 a.m. Judging follows at 10:45 a.m.

Throughout the day, you can check out some of the incredible peaches for which Stonewall and Gillespie County have become known. While peach orchards suffered in 2017, Baegthe said they’ve rebounded in 2018.

“The peach industry, we’ve had some not-so-good years recently, but this one’s looking to be a good one,” she added. “People are excited.”

You can enjoy live music by Davey Schrank and enter a domino tournament and contests for washer pitching, peach eating, and peach spitting. There’s also a peach show and a baking contest auction.

“At noon, we’re holding a goat roping for the first time,” Baegthe said.

While competitors pay a fee to compete, spectators can take in the action at no cost.

Things start winding down for Saturday’s early activities after 4 p.m. Then, officials clear things out and get ready for the rodeo and the Bellamy Brothers concert with gates reopening at 6 p.m.

Things are definitely looking brighter this year for Hill Country peach producers. Why not help them celebrate by heading to the 2018 Stonewall Peach JAMboree.

daniel@thepicayune.com

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