Coloma celebrates local growthPublished 9:35am Thursday, July 31, 2014
COLOMA — For nearly five decades, the Glad-Peach Festival has been the pride and joy of the Coloma community.
Originally a celebration of the area’s homegrown gladiolus flowers, the festival expanded in the 1970s to include Coloma’s prospering peach crops. Organizers say between 15,000 and 20,000 people from all over Michiana flock to downtown Coloma each day of the three-and-a-half day festival to shop at craft booths, play fair games, watch street shows and frequent food booths.
“I grew up with the festival,” said Martin Quigley, director of the Run/Walk/Bike 5K and 10K races. “It really is a hometown community family-friendly festival. You just don’t get bored with any of it.”
Quigley said he has participated in the festival in some way or another for the majority of his life, and each year the festival has been different.
“Each year we’re looking for different activities, different attractions. Last year we introduced the street movie downtown on Saturday night. This year it’s the bike show instead of the car show,” Quigley said, referring to the motorcycle show that will line the downtown Sunday.
The festival begins at 4 p.m. Thursday, July 31, with dollar night. Tickets are $1 each, and rides are one ticket apiece.
Friday, Miss Coloma and her court along with city and township officials open the festival at 6:15 p.m.
“A youth parade follows that grand opening on Friday evening. The kids from the area groups like 4-H and church groups put on a parade. Some will put together floats, and others will be on bicycles or walking, and they’ll all be part of the youth parade,” Quigley said.
Saturday morning, hundreds will participate in perhaps the highlight of the festival, the Coloma Glad-Peach 5K/10K Bike, Run and Walk.
“We’re expecting 600 participants this year. Following those events we have a fun run primarily for kids, but the adults can jump in there, too,” Quigley said.
A full list of events and activities can be found at ColomaPeachFest.com.