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Annual Johnson County Peach Festival celebrates 80 years

Mother Nature had other plans, but local peaches are back at the Johnson County Peach Festival.

JOHNSON COUNTY, ARKANSAS, Ark. — For the 80th year, Johnson County is celebrating its annual Peach Festival.

Two years removed from a pandemic shutdown and a year of California peaches; locally grown peaches are back at the festival. However, it almost didn't happen thanks to Mother Nature.

"We want it to be easy pickin', this year has not been that," says Mark Morgan, a peach farmer with Peach Pickin' Paradise. "Maybe it will get there in time, we're still just kind of waiting on it."

Thanks to two significant hail storms in the spring, a lack of rain and intense heat, Morgan says the harvest is delayed.

"We've still got it on the tree. We've still got a lot to get ripe, it's just kind of hangin' so it's going to extend our season now," says Morgan.

Back down Highway 21 and on to W. Main St. in Clarksville, the show must go on. Thankfully, the Peach Pickin' Paradise knows a thing about being patient with the weather and was able to provide the locally grown peaches for the festival.

Something Matt Bewley, the Clarksville Chamber of Commerce Executive Director says makes all the difference.

"It doesn't matter if they're a red peach, white peach, yellow peach. If they're from Johnson County, you're not going to go wrong. All the peaches here are fantastic," said Bewley.

The Johnson County Peach Festival will wrap up Saturday - capped off with a parade at 7 p.m. 

But that doesn't mean peaches will be done here in Clarksville. Back at the orchard, Morgan anticipates within the next week or two, there will be plenty of peaches primed for picking he just asks that you call before coming to make sure they're open.

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