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Life's a peach this weekend in Middletown

Delaware Public Media

An estimated 30,000 people are expected to flock to Middletown Saturday for the town’s annual Olde Tyme Peach Festival.

Now in its 22nd year, the event honors the fruit that helped the town prosper in the 19th century.David Matsen, president of the Middletown Historical Society says the town was once known as the peach center of Delaware.

“Peaches were grown in Middletown even in the 18th century. We have records of growers, types of peaches grown. But the peach industry didn’t really take off until the railroad came through; that was in 1855.”

Matsen says growers made fortunes during the heyday of Delaware’s peach industry.

“The houses that they built are magnificent Victorian structures; they built large houses on North Cass Street and South Broad Street in Middletown. Those are still standing and form a real architectural heritage for the town.”

The peach festival runs from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday. Activities include a parade along Broad Street, a car show and a peach pie contest.

Volunteers and students from the Appoquinimink school district will sell handmade peach pies at the MOT Senior Center. This year, the culinary facilities at Middletown High School as well as the center’s kitchen will be used to bake 800 nine-inch pies and five-inch mini pies.

All proceeds benefit the programs at the center, which serves about 1,000 seniors in Middletown.