08-03-2017 Coloma is the place to be this weekend for the 50th Anniversary of the Glad-Peach Fest; G

Coloma is the place to be this weekend for the 50th Anniversary of the Glad-Peach Festival

By Christina Gelder

It has finally arrived; this weekend will be the 50th Glad-Peach Festival in Coloma and all of the hard work of the volunteers will come to fruition. There will be official festival events as well as other opportunities around town for good food and good times.

After several years of having a reduced carnival the festival will be back to a full carnival this year with rides and food offerings. The larger carnival will be stationed off of Logan Street behind The Friendly Tavern. They will open up on Thursday night, August 3 for the traditional dollar night at 4:00 p.m. There will be smaller rides for younger children on Badt Drive and inflatable fun behind Edgewater Bank.

Friday, August 4 is the official start of the festival. The vendors, carnival and food booths will all open up at noon. The bake fest will also be judged on Friday afternoon at D.W. Hammond Chocolates, winners announced at 7:30 p.m. The opening ceremony will draw a crowd at 6:15 p.m. on the Leonard Main Stage in Baker Park. During the ceremony, the coronation of the Glad-Peach Prince and Princess will take place.

The youth parade will follow at 7:00 p.m. Area children are invited to walk, bike, or build a float and strut their stuff through downtown. Winners will be announced at the Main Stage following the parade. The evening wraps up with musical groups on the Main Stage and the Showcase Stage (located across from Family Dollar). Square dancing, always a crowd favorite, will be in front of the Loma Theater at 8:00 p.m.

Saturday, August 5 is scheduled to start early with one of the area’s largest walk, run and bike events. The 5K and 10K bike and 10K walk races will start at 7:45 a.m. from Salem Lutheran Church and the 5K and 10K run and 5K walk will start at 8:30 a.m. A fun run is also scheduled for little ones at 9:45 a.m.

Downtown will come alive at 10:00 a.m. with the opening of the carnival, vendor booths and food vendors. Coloma Public Library will be hosting their annual book sale. In Laura Baker Park families can enjoy the Family Art Fair from 10:30 a.m.- 12:30 p.m. After the parade, the art fair will only have tie dye available until 4:00 p.m.

At 1:00 p.m. be ready for a fantastic show as the 50th Annual Glad-Peach Festival Parade rolls through town. The parade will begin near the BP station on the south end of downtown and end up at the Coloma fire station. There will be a few tractors parked downtown after the parade for visitors to look at and enjoy. Also following the parade are the Chalk the Street and Peach Pit Spit contests. These events are free to participants of all ages. Coloma’s Got Talent, new this year, will take place at 4:00 p.m. Organizer Nancy Perry is excited about the acts she has lined up for that.

For festival goers looking for a different supper option the Coloma American Legion will be hosting a steak fry as a fund-raiser for the Sons of the American Legion from 5:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m. Easy Street Inn will also have a beer tent behind the restaurant open on Friday and Saturday nights. Throughout the evening there will once again be musical entertainment on both stages as the wait begins for the Peach-Tac-U-Lar Aerial Fireworks Show. The fireworks are shot off from downtown and are scheduled to start at 10:30 p.m.

Sunday is the final day of the festivities in Coloma as the 50th Glad-Peach Festival wraps up. The North Berrien Fire Rescue Department will host a pancake breakfast from 6:00 a.m.- 1:00 p.m. (they will also be open on Saturday morning). The car show runs from 9:00 a.m.- 2:00 p.m. with registration beginning at 7:30 a.m. This is a car show only, not a motorcycle show as in years past.

One more time the vendors and carnival are all slated to open at 10:00 a.m. There will be a Kid’s Fun Fair between Baker and Laura Baker parks featuring Curious Kid’s Museum and Celebration Cinema followed by a John Dudley Magic Show.

The Leonard Main Stage will host a Community Worship Service. Several local churches will band together for a time of music and special speaker Dave McIntyre. McIntyre was the winner of History Channel’s series Alone and is a former missionary. The final scheduled event of the weekend is the Kid’s Tractor Pull in front of John’s Glass. Registration will be at 12:30 p.m. and the pull starts at 1:00 p.m.

For additional information, check out colomapeachfest.com.

Four Grand Marshals chosen for Saturday’s Glad-Peach parade

By Christina Gelder

For the 50th Annual Glad-Peach Festival Parade chairperson Mary Ann Moser decided to do something special in her selection of Grand Marshal. She chose to honor four people instead of just one. She says, “I thought it would be fitting to honor all of our past presidents that helped shape the festival into what it is today.” She goes on to recognize that many volunteers make the festival successful year after year but the president shoulders a lot of responsibility.

Mary Collis was the festival president in the early to mid-eighties. It has been so long ago that she doesn’t exactly recall what years. She served multiple years and volunteered for a longtime. Collis said that the parade is probably her favorite part of the festival and she has never before ridden in it. She is really looking forward to it.

Dale Stover


Julie Pupedis


Erica Hensel


Mary Collis


Collis was from Chicago but summered in the Coloma area. She met her husband here and became a permanent part of the community when they were married. She was a partner in Artiste Hollow and taught painting lessons in downtown Coloma, which is how she became involved in the festival to start with. She talks about how it was more low-key at that time with very little budget to speak of. She remembers lobbying for police help and getting the road fully shut down for the first time. “So much work goes into it,” she says of the festival, “I don’t think people realize how much until they get involved.”

In 1986 Dale Stover became the president, role that he served in for four years before being term limited out. He was also First Executive Director more than once in the ten plus years he was involved. Stover has a lot of good memories of the years he was involved and is proud of the accomplishments of the board while he was president.

During that time, the festival began to grow to a much bigger event and Stover was a part of a new sponsorship program that made it possible. Looking back, Stover credits those years of growth to a “very aggressive, forward thinking Board of Directors that constantly thought outside the box with new and innovative ideas.”

In addition to his involvement with Glad-Peach, Stover was also a Coloma firefighter for 31 years. He dedicated a lot of time to the Little Squirt program as well as helping to educate children on fire safety. Now he lives in Saint Joseph Township and works for FEMA’s fire grant program.

Erica Hensel gets the award for longest running president. She took the position in 1990 and they did away with the term limits allowing her to serve until 2012. In addition to all of that she also ran the Arts and Crafts Show for even longer. With over 30 years of involvement she has a lot of fond memories of the festival. Her favorites include the crowning of the Glad-Peach Prince and Princess during the opening ceremonies and setting up throughout the week with the other board members and volunteers. “It goes so fast once it’s here,” she said of the festival, “you work so hard and then it’s over.”

Hensel has also been a longtime member of the Coloma Lioness Club and still is heavily involved there. This year she is serving as 2nd Vice President. She also loves to garden around her home near Paw Paw Lake and paints beautifully.

Julie Pupedis is the current Past President. After serving for four and a half years as President of the Glad-Peach Board she is now helping the current President, Jody Davis through her first years at the helm. Pupedis has been involved in the festival as long as anyone. It must be 40 years in different roles throughout the years. “I enjoy doing it,” she says, “I’ve always enjoyed it.”

Pupedis moved to Coloma as a young adult and loves it. She says, “It is a beautiful place to live.” She goes on to say that she appreciates the friendliness and has always tried to support the town and the people.

Pupedis talks about how through the years the festival is always changing. It is never the same; there is always something new or a challenge for the board to overcome. One of the things she wishes she could change is the youth parade. She wants it to be bigger because it is cute. The fireworks are her favorite as she dedicates countless days to the festival every year.

Glad-Peach Community Spirit Award honors two deserving community members

By Christina Gelder

This year’s Glad-Peach Community Spirit Award goes to Dee Schultz for her work with the fireworks over the years. Also, being honored for his part in the fireworks production is Sieg Freitag.

It takes a lot of people to put on a festival as big as the Glad-Peach Festival year after year for five decades. There are volunteers in lots of capacities including those you see and recognize and those who work quietly behind the scenes. Dee Schultz is one of those people. She is much more comfortable in the background but has been dedicated to the festival for over 30 years.

Schultz is being honored this year as part of a couple. Her late husband Don was actually the one who was originally involved and he pulled her in when they were married. Don passed away in December but his work is remembered fondly and appreciated. He was a member of the board at one point and served as the electrician. Dee was right there helping him along the way.

When they first started setting off the fireworks it was back behind Wesco and they did so with the help of the fire department. Dee shares that Don had to have a special permit to go and buy them from Ohio. Now she works for Dick Wilson of Night Magic/Mad Bomber out of LaPorte, Indiana and delivers fireworks to festivals near and far. During all this time, the couple and several of those helping them to put on the Peach-Tac-U-Lar show, have donated their commission back to the festival in the form of additional fireworks.

Dee says that after all of these years they had to admit they are adrenaline junkies. She says it was a lot more fun to light them off by hand.

Sieg Freitag entered the picture several years ago when it was no longer feasible to set them off behind Wesco. He was the caretaker of a property near there that he now owns and was able to allow the dedicated crew to light them off there. He also allows them use of his building for bathrooms, a place to change or get out to the weather. Dee Schultz says she is very grateful for the help that he offers them.

The fireworks are a big part of Coloma’s biggest weekend and the Community Spirit Award is well deserved by these individuals who make sure it is a wonderful show every year.

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