Peach Festival a mainstay in the Mt. Laurel community

Peach Festival a mainstay in the Mt. Laurel community

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The Mt. Laurel Meeting Peach Festival is a community event residents can count on every year.

Mt. Laurel Meeting annually holds the festival on the first Saturday in August. Lucy Beard, a member of Mt. Laurel Meeting and volunteer at the festival, said many residents have the festival marked on their calendar before the summer even begins.

“We’ve really done a good job of establishing a steady program,” she said. “It’s an event that people count on every year.”

The 24th annual festival will be on Saturday, Aug. 1 from 4:30 to 7 p.m. The event will be held, rain or shine, at the Mt. Laurel Meetinghouse located at the corner of Moorestown-Mt. Laurel Road and Hainesport-Mt. Laurel Road.

The festival annually draws hundreds of area residents to the 255-year-old meetinghouse. The meetinghouse itself is one of the oldest Quaker structures in the Delaware Valley and was used as a temporary hospital for soldiers during the Revolutionary War.

Mt. Laurel Meeting uses and maintains the meetinghouse today. Meeting member Lucy Beard said the group has done a number of projects in recent years to beautify the property. These projects are made possible through money raised at the festival.

The most recent improvement is the addition of an outdoor walking trail running along the property behind the meetinghouse. The trail is located on about an acre of property.

“We’ve cleaned out the area, planted some native species and created a wooded nature trail on the backside of the property,” Beard said.

Other improvements have been made to the meetinghouse itself. The building recently had new plumbing and a new roof installed.

The festival is made possible through many volunteers who bake homemade pies and cakes, churn ice cream on site and peel the peaches for upward of 1,000 guests each year.

“It’s all because of volunteers,” Beard said. They’re mostly either members or friends of members of Moorestown and Mt. Laurel meeting.”

Because of the number of people attending the event annually, preparing for the event is a daylong process. Beard said dozens of volunteers work throughout the day leading up to 4:30 p.m. to make sure there are enough cakes, pies and peaches for everyone.

“We peel about a half a ton of peaches,” Beard said. “Members of both Moorestown and Mt. Laurel meetings bake. We have about 60 people baking cakes.”

The event includes fun for people of all ages. For kids, Pretzels the Clown will be on hand to show off a few tricks and make balloon animals. Car enthusiast may enjoy a line of classic cars from area residents. History buffs can learn about the history of the meetinghouse and colonial-era Mt. Laurel from meeting members during the event.

“It really has the feel of an old-fashioned farm picnic,” Beard said.

Tickets to the peach festival are $5 for adults and $3 for children. Children ages 4 and under are admitted for free. For more information about the festival or Mt. Laurel meeting, call (856) 235–1561.