St. Paulís UCC, Amityville, raised as much as $10,000 to help fund missions and to support the churchís Family Life Mission Center at their annual Peach Festival on Aug. 16. The festival included fun for the whole family and peaches, peaches, peaches.
Between 400 and 500 peach lovers attended the event and enjoyed food, fun, and music. Church members also donated items for a white elephant sale, which is where attendees could find some bargains on second-hand goods. Children participated in crafts, and face painters were on hand to make little faces look like adorable animals and characters.
A sea of lawn chairs surrounded the stage as people enjoyed the country twang of the Twitty Fever Band, who have been performing at the festival for more than seven years. The Walnutport, Pa., group performed classic country hits, as well as top 40 songs that kept peach-eating festival attendees dancing and singing along.
Peach-goers also enjoyed a special performance from St. Paulís UCC Pastor Steven Simpson who sang a few songs and played banjo. Simpson also performed at last yearís peach festival by playing the mandolin while his daughter, Jenna Walton, sang songs.
From Wednesday through Saturday during the week leading up to the event, church members gathered to peel and cut peaches, prepare baked goods, and prepare other food to be sold at the event. Church members peeled the peaches in an assembly line fashion to remove the seeds and get the peaches ready to be sliced.
According to Simpson, ďItís a social thing. [The volunteers] come and they peel, they bake, they make pies, and have a good time with it. We have some great pie bakers in the church.Ē
Then, festival attendees experienced the fruits of the church membersí labor with ice cream topped with fresh peaches, peach pies, and peach cobbler. Sliced peaches were also available for festival attendees to purchase and enjoy at home.
The peaches were grown locally by Scholl Orchards in Bethlehem, Pa. Since peaches are a perishable food, ordering the right number of peaches can be somewhat of a guessing game.
ďOne of the tricky things is you donít want to run out [of peaches], but you donít want to have tons of food left over. But over the years, weíve gotten a little better at guessing,Ē said Simpson. After the peach festival is over, Simpson said the church gives church members the opportunity to purchase the leftover peaches and baked goods so little is wasted.
The Family Life Mission Center, which receives funding from the peach festival, is a wing of the church that was added in 2006. The Family Life Mission Center is equipped with meeting rooms, a kitchen, a gymnasium, and social quarters to accommodate gatherings, after school programs and various other events that benefit members of the community.
The peach festival also helps to fund the churchís various missions, which help to feed the hungry and help those in need locally and throughout the world.
To learn about other events at St. Paulís UCC, call 610-689-9364 or visit www.stpaulsuccamity.org.