While the Livesay family of Porter is responsible for their hometown being known as the “Peach Capital of Oklahoma,” they know that it truly takes a village for the annual Porter Peach Festival to be a success.

“We have an amazing group of people who dedicate so much of their time to the festival,” said Krystal Livesay, who this year is overseeing the festival’s cooking contest.

One of those volunteers was Andrea Parnell, a local teacher who for close to two decades devoted her summers to working at Livesay Orchards. She also was a regular contestant in the culinary contest, with desserts such as peaches and cream cake.

Parnell died Feb. 9, and this year, the Porter Peach Festival’s culinary contest has been renamed in her honor.

“Mrs. Parnell’s Peachy Things” will have four categories.

“First is cobblers and pies,” Livesay said. “Then there’s a category for all other sweet treats, such as cookies and cupcakes. The Peach Jam and Jars category is for anything that might go into a jar — peach butter, peach salsa, those kind of things.

“The fourth category is ‘Any Peachy Thing,’ and it’s open to people 18 and younger,” she said.

Judges for this year’s contest will be Jessica Combs, who co-owns Bixby Farm and Ranch Supply, and Michelle Herriman-Brashear, owner of The Local Flavor restaurant in Haskell.

Livesay said that most of the contest entries are from local residents, but the contest is open to anyone. The entry fee is $20.

“In fact,” she said, “I’ve already received my first entry this year, and it was from an 89-year-old woman in Owasso. We’d love to have as many entries as we can get. But we usually never know how many people will enter because the majority show up on the day of the contest.”

For the first time this year, a limited number of tasting kits will be available for $10 each.

“We’re limiting it to 25 kits because, for one reason, it’s the first time we’ve tried something like this and also because we didn’t want to overburden the cooks,” Livesay said. “We figured most people could come up with something that could serve 25 people.”

Fifty percent of the entry fees for the “Mrs. Parnell’s Peachy Things” contest will go to the Andrea Parnell Memorial Scholarship Fund, which provides scholarships to Porter students.

Last year, an unexpected freeze in April wiped out a large portion of the Livesay peach crop, which forced the Porter Peach Festival to import peaches from elsewhere.

“That was the first time in close to 25 years that we’ve had to bring in peaches for the festival,” said Melanie Warren, president of the Porter Lion’s Club, the beneficiary of the Porter Peach Festival. “But this year, all the rain we’ve had has been great for the peaches, so we’re going to have nothing but Porter peaches at the festival.”

This year’s festival will also feature carnival rides for the first time in several years.

“The people who ran the carnival that we used in the past retired, and it just took us a while to find someone willing to come to Oklahoma in July,” Warren said, laughing. “I guess they’d rather go to Minnesota or Wisconsin this time of year.

“But this year, we found a company, Summertime Attractions, that was going to be in Oklahoma and available during the festival days,” she said. “They’ll have about 20 rides set up.”

Carnival fans will be able to purchase a wristband entitling them to unlimited rides for $20 for Thursday and Friday. Warren said the price for ride wristbands for Saturday is still being worked out.

Other planned events include the “Porter’s Got Talent” competition, with former “The Voice” contestants Alaska and Madi as judges; an art show with more than $2,000 in prizes; live music; a 5k run; scavenger hunt; and free peaches and ice cream served at 1 p.m. Saturday.

PORTER PEACH FESTIVAL

Thursday, July 18

4 p.m.: Festival opens with carnival rides, games, food, arts and crafts vendors

6 p.m.: Art exhibit and sale with artists meet-and-greet and awards (First Baptist Activity Center)

6:45 p.m.: Welcome prayer and national anthem (Main Stage)

7 p.m.: “Porter’s Got Talent” competition featuring judges Alaska and Madi (Main Stage)

9 p.m.: Boone Mendenhall & Billy Arnett in concert (Main Stage)

Friday, July 19

4 p.m.: Festival opens with carnival rides, games, food, arts and crafts vendors

4 p.m.: Entries accepted for “Mrs. Parnell’s Peachy Things” culinary contest (Civic Center)

5-8 p.m.: Art exhibit and sale open (First Baptist Activity Center)

6 p.m.: Street games prizes awarded (Meet in front of Civic Center)

6 p.m.: Classic gymnastics exhibition (Main Stage)

6:15 p.m.: Tasting kits sold for “Mrs. Parnell’s Peachy Things” culinary contest (Civic Center)

6:30 p.m.: Antique tractor pull (South Main Street)

7 p.m.: Main Street Martyr in concert (Main Stage)

7:45 p.m.: Winners announced for “Mrs. Parnell’s Peachy Things” culinary contest (Main Stage)

8 p.m.: Porter Peach Festival Open Rodeo (Porter Arena East of Town)

Saturday, July 20

7 a.m.: Peach Classic 5k Run (Main Street)

7-10 a.m.: Registration for Porter Peach Festival Car & Bike Show (South Main Street)

8 a.m. to 6 p.m.: Livesay Orchards & Peach Barn open for shopping — Peaches and more

9 a.m.: Festival opens

9 a.m. to 4 p.m.: Art exhibit and sale open (First Baptist Activity Center)

10 a.m.: To Far in concert (Main Stage)

11 a.m.: Judging and awards for Porter Peach Festival Car & Bike Show (South Main Street)

11 a.m.: Peach Festival Parade featuring Grand Marshal Roy Essary

11:30 a.m.: Tourist Park in memory of Danny Boyd Park Dedication with the Lions Club (Main Stage)

Noon: Peach auction (Main Stage)

1 p.m.: Free peaches and ice cream (Fire Station)

5 p.m.: Scavenger hunt (Meet in Front of Civic Center)

6 p.m.: Street games prizes awarded (Meet in Front of Civic Center)

6 p.m.: Dustin Chadwell in concert (Main Stage)

6:30 p.m.: Antique tractor pull (South Main Street)

8 p.m.: Brothers Rebellion in concert (Main Stage)



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James D. Watts Jr.

918-581-8478

james.watts@tulsaworld.com

Twitter: watzworld

Scene Writer

James writes primarily about the visual, performing and literary arts. Phone: 918-581-8478