Larry Overby of the Five Forks community said he never has missed a peach festival in Patrick County.
Friday was no exception.
At the 27th annual Virginia State Peach Festival, he sat in a folding chair on a hill overlooking a natural amphitheater as Evan & Dana, a bluesy rock duo from Greensboro, N.C., performed. The band Worx also was scheduled to perform.
“I would be down front,” Overby said, if not for the fact that he has trouble walking. The retired textile worker turned 77 the day before.
He wore shorts, a tie-dyed shirt and a yellow print cap appropriate for the beach. Someone once told him, “Anybody who would wear a hat like that would do anything,” he laughed.
Speaking of the beach, he has attended every beach music festival in Patrick County, except one, when he had pneumonia, he said.
He enjoys going to festivals.
“I love the music, meeting people, the companionship, the fellowship,” he said.
He gave thumbs up to this year’s peach festival, which was at a new location in Wayside Park, when asked to compare it with other peach festivals in Patrick County.
“I like it better — the parking and the shade,” he said. “I think the music is ideal.”
The festival also offered inflatables to entertain the children; a variety of foods and hand-made crafts; tables with information and promotions by various businesses, community groups and churches; and area politicians. (See related story)
Fresh peaches, peach desserts and peach bellini (a drink) were available.
Not far from where Overby sat, John Reynolds of Critz was admiring the blacksmithing of Jared Fain of the Patrick Springs area, who was heating, hammering and shaping metal, using a traditional forge with a hand-cranked blower system, an anvil and hand tools.
“It’s interesting you can take a raw piece of metal and make something out of it,” Reynolds said. He added that he took a blacksmithing class in the “old days” when he was a student at Hardin Reynolds High School.
Metal must be heated (at one point to 1,500 to 2,000 degrees) until it can be shaped, Fain explained. Glowing colors indicate the appropriate temperatures.
Fain works the metal into a basic shape, and his partner in F&H Forge of Stuart, Kevin Handy, does finishing work, which involves such things as filing and polishing. Handy also makes handles and sheaths.
Making a knife takes 15-20 hours from start to finish, Fain said.
Justin and Stephanie Sedor and their children, sixth-grader Caitlin, fifth-grader Andrew and first-grader Cody, of the Stanleytown/Bassett area said they were enjoying the festival. Some of the things various members of the family said they liked were the blacksmithing exhibition, a special barbecue sauce and jewelry.
Tim Collins, executive director of the Patrick County Chamber of Commerce, described it as “a fantastic festival.” There were 46 vendors, up from 22 last year, and the number of children’s activities doubled, he said.
“Rain may be keeping some people away, but if you look at that field and the cars, a lot of people are here and people are still coming in,” he said about 7:30 p.m. The festival was scheduled to run from 4 until 10 p.m.
A total attendance figure was not immediately available.