Fifty United Church members and community volunteers were busy peeling peaches and preparing filling this week for more than 1,500 peach pies, which will be up for the tasting this weekend at the Winona Peach Festival.
About 30 people lent their hands to the process, pitching in nearly 20 hours to complete the task at the church.
Volunteers will be baking the eight, nine and 10-inch peach pies today and Friday at the Fiesta Mall Fortinos location, having made all the pastry in April. They also put together peach jam and jelly for the festival in February.
Member Kathy Cushnie said the church has been making peach pies for the event since it began in 1967.
“It started with just people individually making the pies at home. The first year, we may have had 20 pies,” she said. “Since 1996, we have been doing a lot. I think that year we probably did about 700 and it’s just grown from there.”
The Winona Peach Festival is organized by a dedicated group of volunteers to help support 20 churches, service clubs and sport organizations within the community.
Each group is a registered charity or non-profit organization and uses the festival as a fundraiser for its organization by offering food products and games. Funds raised help churches to support community outreach programs, service clubs to tackle community projects and sport organizations to keep registration costs down.
Cushnie said Fifty United Church uses about 50 per cent of the money it generates from the event for general expenses and upkeep of the church.
The other half is divided between the Winona Food Bank, Inasmuch House, Interval House, Mission Services, Wesley Urban Ministries, United Church of Canada Mission and Service Fund and Angola Memorial Scholarship Fund, she added.
“The Winona Peach Festival is a long-standing tradition in our community and is made possible through a number of dedicated volunteers and great organizations. We’re very proud to be a part of it,” Cushnie said. “The festival’s definitely a great fundraiser. It’s a great way for people to come together, have fun and support the community.”
The Winona Peach Festival runs Aug. 23 to Aug. 25 at Winona Park.
For more information on the festival’s attractions and offerings, visit www.winonapeach.com.