homepage logo

Shepherdstown Peach Festival features sweet treats

By Toni Milbourne - For the Chronicle | Aug 20, 2021

New Street United Methodist Church members make the peach icecream earlier last week, which was then sold at the Shepherdstown Peach Festival. Courtesy photo

SHEPHERDSTOWN — For the second year, New Street United Methodist Church offered a “grab and go” version of the annual Shepherdstown Peach Festival. The inability to gather inside the church building did not deter folks from placing advance orders or from walking up to place their order at the door.

The festival, looked forward to by many, has been occurring at the church for around 20 years, according to Nancy Cleaver.

“We started baking in my kitchen but now we bake at the fire hall,” Cleaver said on Saturday.

Cleaver and Margaret Rose Peterson were both instrumental in getting the festival started, one that Rev. Dee-Ann Dixon has called “something different” that the church does to raise funds.

The volunteers, which neither Cleaver nor Peterson could quantify other than saying there are “a lot of people,” began work more than a week before the festival preparing the fruit for 86 pies as well as for peach crisp.

New Street United Methodist Church volunteers pose for a photograph together, between taking orders and packaging items for “grab and go” at the Shepherdstown Peach Festival on Saturday afternoon. Toni Milbourne

“We had about 60 pre-orders for pie,” Peterson said.

In addition to the pies and crisp, volunteers also worked hard making homemade peach ice cream and vanilla ice cream that was offered either as quarts or pints for take home enjoyment.

As in past years, Peterson said the peaches for the baked goods came from Twin Ridge Orchard in Shenandoah Junction.

While in the past, festival-goers have been able to fellowship together around the lunch table, with the social distancing practiced, it was just easier to offer a “grab and go” option, rather than canceling the event. In addition to the delicious dessert offerings, folks could also select chicken salad or ham sandwiches to go.

“We made more than 130 of each sandwich. We really make a lot,” Peterson laughed, as she contemplated the total numbers of items prepared for the day.

Many volunteers helped prepare and cook the food, as well as package it, for pick-up. Additional volunteers worked the tables to handle money exchanges, run orders inside or pick up orders at the fellowship hall window.

Each year the festival has helped raise funds for needed projects around the church, as well as to sometimes offer donations toward other charities. This year, proceeds from the festival will replenish the church’s renovation fund that was used this summer to put new flooring into the kitchen and fellowship hall, as well as to retrofit the men’s bathroom on the lower level. This year’s funds will go back into that fund to begin the long process of saving to re-do the kitchen in the church to bring it up-to-date for hosting larger activities and meals.

“We have been able to use our money wisely for what is our public face,” Peterson said of the work that has been done through the efforts of the volunteers at the church.

In addition to the Shepherdstown Peach Festival, the church hosts spaghetti dinners and offers a Spring Fling at least every other year.