2017-07-17 / Front Page

Large crowds flock to festival weekend

Ledger Staff Writer

An ominous dark storm cloud cast a shadow over a country music concert Friday evening as headliner Tony Jackson patiently waited to add his name to the long list of country stars to perform at the South Carolina Peach Festival.

Jackson wowed a large crowd with his rich tenor voice as he performed traditional country music such as George Jones’ “The Grand Tour” and original songs such as “Old Porch Swing.” The rain held off Friday evening until festival-goers started their journey back to their cars.

“Both Tony Jackson and Blane Howard did a fantastic job. This is one of the best concerts I have seen,” South Carolina Peach Festival Promotions Chairwoman Teresa Bratt said. “It didn’t start to rain until everyone started to leave.”

Downtown parking lots were packed with cars this weekend as the festival celebrated its 40th anniversary. Visitors came from as far away as Georgia and Mexico to eat barbecue and chicken wings, watch the parade, enjoy carnival rides, arts and crafts, a classic car show and live music.

Mark Newbanks received plenty of attention for his patriotic-themed, aqua metallic 2010 Camaro SS entry in the festival car show. His Camaro was one of 61 entries in the event.

A bald eagle was painted on a vinyl wrap across his front fender. He custom painted a red, white and blue eagle on the back of his car hood.

“I originally planned to paint the car in a red, white and blue patriotic theme,” Newbanks said. “It just evolved from there into an aqua metallic car with eagles on the hood and red and white trim colors painted on the interior. I’m really proud of how it turned out.”

Another continuing draw this year was the Peach Festival barbecue competition, which saw 23 teams compete for barbecue glory Saturday.

“Ultimate Tailgaters” won the Boston butts category in the South Carolina Barbecue Association-sanctioned event.

The “High on the Hog” BBQ team took first place in ribs while “Carolina Drumline BBQ” of Gaffney finished second.

The “In the Army Que” team placed first in the chicken wing competition.

Several barbecue cooking teams got creative with their entries.

The “We Want Moore” BBQ team offered a strawberry-flavored barbecue sauce for festival attendees to taste at a “People’s Choice” event where people could sample pulled pork from different teams. The “People’s Choice” award for the tastiest barbecue was won by a team named “The Sauce and All That Goes With It.”

“Drum Dr.’s BBQ” of Rock Hill did a peach glazed wings recipe specifically for the Peach Festival.

“This is the first time we have ever done a peach-flavored wing,” said Rusty Titchenal of Drum Dr’s BBQ. “We thought we would experiment a little since it’s the Peach Festival and came up with the peach recipe in the kitchen. We received a lot of good comments about our wings.”

People got their money’s worth Saturday evening in the mud bog.

The event lasted from Saturday at 7 p.m. until 5 a.m. Sunday morning at Lake Whelchel.

Festival officials said afternoon showers made the 200-foot-long mud pit thicker than normal. There were delays while drivers were towed out of the pit before competition could continue.

The festival will wrap up with a Cherokee Speedway dirt track race July 22 at 8 p.m.

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