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History of the Palisade Peach Festival

This weekend is the annual Peach Festival in Palisade, and this year we have something even more special to celebrate: 125 years of peaches and 50 years of this wonderful event! This festival combines amazing vendors, kids activities, music, contests, orchard tours, and of course, the famous peach-eating contest.

So how did this all begin? "Peach Days" has been dated back to the late-1800s (Museum of Western Colorado) and this photo of the Peach Queen is from the 1920s. John Harlow and his wife Jean were interested in getting more agriculture to the Grand Valley, so in 1882 they planted some of the first peach trees and learned how to fertilize the soil using burnt bones and leached ashes. By the late 1800s a canal system was completed to bring water from the Colorado River to their area allowing the fruit market to grow exponentially. Since then, more fruits have been planted in the region producing 100s of acres of vineyards and award winning wineries.

We all get to benefit from John and Jean Harlow's work by enjoying the sweet, delicious peaches grown right here and the many events that happen around town to celebrate our agriculture. From the Tour de Vineyards (happening on September 15th this year) which allows you to explore the scenic wine country on a 23- or 58-mile course, to the peach festival, there are events year-round for everyone to enjoy.

If you are free this weekend, head to downtown Palisade and purchase your tickets at the gate. The festivities start this Thursday with a FREE Ice Cream Social and Street Dance and then the crowning of the Peach Queen at 6:30. For more information on the festival and activities, go the the website:

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