Peach Festival memorabilia to be displayed at Lincoln Parish Museum

May 19, 2010 | General News

It’s taken more than six years of research, but Linda Sivils has a barrel of peaches worth of information – about the Ruston Peach Festival.
Sivils, director of Tech’s Museum of Fashion and Textiles, started researching the history of the Peach Festival itself and of the pageant winners in 2004 and will display her material, which includes several queen gowns and tiaras, a trophy, photos from past festivals and many other items, at the Lincoln Parish Museum starting Tuesday, May 25, in honor of this year’s diamond anniversary Peach Festival, which will be held June 25-27.
“We had been given a Peach Festival dress from Betty Wilder Teasley, who was the third Peach Festival Queen,” Sivils said. “I thought it would be nice if we had more gowns and could display them.”
The display is a joint venture through Louisiana Tech’s Special Collections and the Lincoln Parish Museum and Historical Society. Peggy Carter, university archivist, said Sivils had put in much of the legwork needed to obtain the items and information.
“Linda has been working for years on this,” Carter said. “She’s worked hard to get the gowns and tiaras.”
However, the work is not complete. Sivils said she is still looking for information about queens, Princess Peaches and any other photos or memorabilia from Peach Festivals.
“One of our goals is to get a photo of every queen,” Sivils said.
Margaret Anne Emory, director of the Lincoln Parish Museum and who also competed in the Peach Festival Pageant in 1963, said while looking through some of the museum’s materials, she came across one of the queen’s trains, which is believed to have belonged to the 10th Peach Festival Queen, Billie Sue Riordon Kramer, who competed in 1960. Sivils said Kramer’s grandmother had made the train for her granddaughter.
“We’re on the trail of getting the trains,” Sivils said. “They were heavy, cumbersome things, and some years the girls wouldn’t wear them.”
Emory added that if anyone has an item he or she would like to loan or donate to the collection for display or has information about the history of the Peach Festival, call the museum at 318-251-0018.
The Peach Festival collection will be on display at the Lincoln Parish Museum, located at 609 N. Vienna Street, until the end of July. The museum is open Tuesday through Friday from 10 a.m. to noon and from 1-4 p.m.