Leitersburg Peach Festival adds 5K to this year's lineup
LEITERSBURG — The 38th annual Leitersburg Peach Festival is adding a new component this year. It is not one that is edible, but one that just might make participants feel better about indulging peach ice cream, shortcake, and other festival goodies.
At 8 a.m., Saturday, Aug. 12, runners will take their marks, get set and go at the Leitersburg Peach Festival 5K at Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park. Scott Horning, 48, of Smithsburg, is a Ruritan member and race coordinator.
“I was looking for a way to include more people in the Peach Festival. I thought maybe if we add a 5K in the morning, it might involve more people in the festival,” Horning said. “The peach festival opens officially at 9 a.m., so it will lead right into the opening of that.
The Leitersburg Peach Festival runs from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 12, and Sunday, Aug. 13, at Leiters Ruritan Community Park. The event Features 120 craft and art vendors; blacksmith and chainsaw carving demonstrations; fresh peaches and peach products from local orchards including peach pies and peach ice cream. Free live music from four local bands. Children events include a petting zoo, barrel train rides, climbing wall and face painting. Free admission, free parking. Proceeds support the Ruritan’s mission of supporting the community and the community park.
Horning is no stranger to running in the area. He graduated from Boonsboro High School and ran track at Hagerstown Community College. He coached track and field at Clear Spring High School for eight years until 2000, and for 14 years he has run the JFK 50 Mile, which begins in Boonsboro and ends in Williamsport and draws runners internationally.
Tim Mason, whom Horning said was an All-American runner for Clear Spring and also ran for Hagerstown Community College, is helping with logistics for the Peach Festival 5K.
“He runs a lot. He has helped with (Shepherdstown, W.Va.-based) Freedom’s Run and JFK. He is guiding me through the process,” Horning said.
Horning became involved with the Ruritan because it was the charter organization for Boy Scout Troop 108.
“I was the Scoutmaster for that troop and my two sons (Greg and Tim) became Eagle Scouts through it,” he said.
For 12 years, he said, the Boy Scouts have worked with Leitersburg Ruritan on the annual haunted house project and the Peach Festival. With his sons now grown, Horning and his wife Brenda were “looking for something to do.”
Brenda Horning formed the Smithsburg Leopard Ruritan Club at Smithsburg High School, which has about 60 members and does community volunteer projects including Tabitha’s Table, a group that works to end hunger in the local schools.
Scott Horning has been more involved with the Peach Festival the past couple of years, he said, and now he has conceived of and taken on organizing and directing the race.
The 3.1-mile race will begin and end at Leitersburg Ruritan Community Park at the pavilion.
“We mapped it out for this event. It loops through Leitersburg, goes out Ringgold Pike through some farming communities and back into Leitersburg,” he said. “It is scenic, I would say, with rolling hills – no big mountains or anything. It’s fairly flat but has some small hills.”
The race costs $25 through race day and will be chip timed by a professional timer. There will be an aid station and free refreshments at the conclusion of the race. Horning said he encourages both walkers and runners to participate.
“It’s open to anybody who would like to come out and enjoy it. Everybody gets a race tee. It’s a neat looking Peach Fest T-shirt for them,” he said. “We will have some awards for top finishers and then Peach Festival medallions for all finishers. Basically, they look like a peach and it has the race date and some information.”
The wooden medallions were created and carved at Henson Inlay, a Falling Waters, W.Va., shop, he said.