Dixie Gem Peach Pageant Trivia

  • The first Louisiana Peach Festival was actually held in Bastrop, LA in 1950.
  • The first Ruston Peach Festival was held in 1951.
  • Primary activities of the first festival and many festivals afterwards were held on the Louisiana Tech Campus.
  • Dudley LeBlanc, Abbeville’s famous Hadacol salesman and state senator contributed $1400 for the first festival.
  • The first Peach Queen, Ann Colvin, was crowned by Senator LeBlanc and received a solid gold Hadacol bottle as a gift.
  • The Queen Dixie Gem and Princess Peach pageants have always been a part of the festival.
  • The first queens could enter the contest for $5 and the princesses could enter for $1.
  • Queen Dixie Gem II, Dorothy Etta Goff Hoogland, made history by traveling to Washington DC to deliver peaches to Vice President Richard Nixon.
  • In the late 1950’s, a freeze destroyed the entire crop. Peaches were imported from Texas and Georgia with the theme being “The Show Must Go On.”
  • In the late 1950’s, ladies did not appear on stage in swimwear, but were the guests of swim parties at local residences. 1968 was the year swim suit competition was held on stage.
  • The first peach ice cream was made and sold at the festival in 1975. It was made by members of Beta Sigma Phi.
  • The pageant was covered by KRUS in play-by-play style.
  • The parade featured all contestants and they even threw peaches.
  • By 1976, the festival had become a two week affair.
  • The first official Peach Festival poster was designed by Kim Rogers in 1983.
  • The first peach hunt was held in 1985 with a prize of $500.
  • The first peach blossoms were selected in 1987.
  • The first peach festival rodeo was held in 1990. For several years a Rodeo Queen was selected.
  • The Dixie Gem Teen contest was added in 1992.
  • Corporate sponsors of the festival began in 1997. The first was Century Tel. In 2003, Squire Creek became the official sponsor.