On a chilly Saturday morning in Lafayette, the air was full of impatience.
Hundreds of people gathered in the north parking lot of 200 Waneka Parkway, each excited and eager to taste the sweet, juicy flesh of a palisade peach.
Arriving at the scene around 9 a.m., Westminster resident Mike Manzanares approached the queue with a two-wheeled cart in hand, ready to take several crates home.
“My wife really loves this event and she’s planning it in the spring,” Manzanares said. “She said to me ‘OK, we have to keep an eye on the fishing festival.’ When we know when the weekend is, we kind of rearrange the plans to make sure we can at least get here in the morning. ”
A recurring visitor, Manzanares has been at the Lafayette Peach Festival for at least five years. This year he was able to bring home five crates of peaches; three for other families and two for his household.
“We like to get out early,” Manzanares said. “This year is quite different as you can imagine, but it’s good and I’m glad to have it.”
This year marked the 22nd edition of the Lafayette Chamber of Commerce event. This year, it took place in a new location due to the festival’s planning under COVID-19 restrictions earlier in the year.
“People came in droves,” said director of events and marketing and the Lafayette Chamber, Pat Vero, at the event. “Thousands. There were actually people here at 7:30 am standing in line.
“I used to have 20,000 people coming all day. We moved it here and I had no idea what to expect, but I am very pleasantly surprised and happy.
Vero wrote in an email that there were 30,000 pounds of peaches sold between Morton’s Organic Orchards and Tate Orchards-The Peach Factory.
The peach pies are sold out at 10 a.m. and the cobblers are sold out by noon. There were 400 of each.
“The event has been busy all day,” Vero wrote. “Many sellers said it was their best show yet this year.”
The festival featured several different vendors, food trucks and fishing treats available for sale.
Taking their first bite of the peach cobbler or peach pie plate, many first-time visitors knew they would be back next year for more.
“This shoemaker was one of the best shoemakers I have ever had in my life,” said Natalie Avalos, assistant professor of Native American and Native studies at the University of Colorado Boulder. “I was thrilled to see what the Colorado peach deal was like, and it’s pretty amazing.”
Avalos said it was his first year at the Lafayette Festival. Touring the town with a few other CU Boulder faculty before classes start, the group said it could start a new annual tradition before classes resume.
“I think food-related festivals are my favorite festivals,” Avalos said. “I’m quite a fan of peach pie and it’s a great theme for a festival. “
Speaking to several attendees on Saturday, many said one of the best treats to get is ice cream.
Coming in several flavors, including peach, Cow-A-Bunga ice cream owner Carrie Yantzer said at 11 a.m. she had sold between 150 and 200 scoops.
“It’s really awesome,” Yantzer said. “It’s always so much fun to be in the Lafayette community and the Fishing Festival is always a good community builder.”
Although the festival did not take place at its typical South Public Road location, many visitors have said they actually prefer the new location this year because of the extra space.
Vero said the chamber will need to discuss the location of the festival next year and whether it will stay in the parking lot or return to South Public Road.
“I am very impressed with this,” Vero said.