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Hundreds gather for Georgia Peach Festival

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BY DAVID SCHICK – DSCHICK@MACON.COM

Downtown Fort Valley was brimming with cotton candy, corn dogs and peach cobbler
Saturday afternoon for the 29th annual Georgia Peach Festival.
West Church Street was all but consumed with people enjoying the festival’s activities,
which ranged from art and food vendors to live music acts to a giant water slide for
children.

But many who attended the event were there for the main attraction — what’s known in Fort
Valley as the “world’s largest peach cobbler.”

The hundreds of pounds of peach cobbler sit inside a giant vat underneath a gazebo as
volunteer cooks stir its contents with oars.

Rich Bennett, who has been the “head chef” for the cobbler since 2006, said the giant treat
has always been part of the Georgia Peach Festival and is a project of the Peach County
commission and other county employees.

Seeing the shock and awe on the faces of people getting a look at the cobbler for the first
time is one of Bennett’s most enjoyable moments.

“The amazement of seeing such a large cobbler is pretty funny,” he said.

Bennett said that by 3 p.m., they had already about 400 to 500 people come through the line
for free cobbler.

When he first took over in 2006, Bennett said the recipe called for 32 gallons of milk, 150
pounds of sugar, 75 pounds of butter and 75 gallons of peaches. Over the years, he’s said
made some minor modifications like to reduce the heat and the amount of butter.

“In 2006, when I took it over, the recipe called for 90 pounds of butter, and that’s a bit
much,” he said. “I’ve got it down to 60 and it’s still a little bit too much.”

Despite the variations, he said, people will continue to eat the cobbler until it’s gone.

“For the last few years, we have not had any leftovers,” Bennett said. “It’s really gross by the
end, but people will come up and eat off it after we quit serving it.”

To contact writer David Schick, call 744-4382

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