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Clanton Lions Club cancels 2020 Peach Pageant

By JOYANNA LOVE/ Senior Staff Writer

The list of local events that have been impacted by COVID-19 concerns and social distancing keeps growing.

This list now includes the annual Peach Pageants held as a part of the Peach Festival

“After much consideration by the Clanton Lions Club, it is with great sadness that we are canceling the Peach Pageant this year,” Clanton Lions President Chris Speaks said.

In a press release, Speaks said the decision was based on “the current uncertainty as to when the COVID-19 guidelines will allow such a gathering” and “trying financial times” caused by the impact of stay-at-home recommendations on local businesses.

“There are certain deadlines which would require significant financial investment, and because of this a decision had to be made,” Speaks said. “We feel it is our obligation, given these trying financial times, to support those who have supported us. The pageant cannot go on without our many faithful sponsors. We do not feel in the current economy that it would be equitable to ask our sponsors to make a financial contribution.”

The 2019 Peach Queens will retain their titles until the next pageant.

“Our current Queens will remain in place for the next year,” Speaks said. “They have done an outstanding job and will continue to do so. In the event one cannot complete the year, then, as always, we will drop to an alternate to fill in.”

Other portions of the festival will still be held in a modified fashion.

“We still want to recognize those who truly make our Festival possible — Our hardworking peach farmers,” Speaks said. “All indication is that we are going to have an outstanding crop, and we want to try and give the growers the recognition they deserve. We are also still going to plan to have the parade, but at a later date.”

A contest for the best peaches will still be held. However, the winning baskets will not be auctioned off.

“Rather than an auction, the peaches will be donated by our Queens to nursing homes, hospitals, first responders, our scholarship donors, and others who have so faithfully support us and our community,” Speaks said.

Tentative dates for the peach contest and peach parade have been set for July 10 and 11 respectively.

Speaks said the plan is for the peach farmers with winning peaches to be recognized in the parade.”

Peach Festival T-shirt sales will continue as planned.

“We will have them in our usual locations for sale within the next few weeks, and as well we are working on a website for online orders, or contact a Lions Club member and we will be happy to make arrangements for purchase,” Speaks said. “… The motto of the Lions Club is ‘We Serve’  and by these actions, we are seeking to serve our community in these trying times.  We will strive thereafter to make next year’s Pageant and Festival the best ever.”