Ruston hosts Louisiana Peach Festival - KNOE 8 News; KNOE-TV; KNOE.com |

Ruston hosts Louisiana Peach Festival

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RUSTON, La. (KNOE 8 News) - This weekend marks the 64th year for the annual Louisiana Peach Festival. Thousands of people flock to Downtown Ruston each year to celebrate one of Lincoln Parish's sweetest commodities. But it is one special treat each year that brings in the crowds.

Just like the Louisiana Peach Festival, Blue Bell’s peach ice cream is only available two days out of a year.

For more than 30 years the Eta Omicron Chapter of Beta Sigma Phi, a national civic sorority, has been serving the ice cream for a good cause. Funds raised go to more than 50 charities and most of them, in the Ruston area.

"This is our main money making project for the year. And we have a lot of charities we donate to throughout the year," Shelli Gunther said.  

Gunther said for years the organization partnered with the Louisiana Tech's dairy farm to make the specialty ice cream.

"We would go out and chop the peaches with them. We would peel them and then they would make the ice cream for us and we would sell it at the peach festival,” Gunther said.   

But after the dairy closed, Blue Bell stepped up and now makes it for the sorority. Keeping with Tech's tradition, Gunther says Blue Bell only uses home grown, local peaches. And every year, she says it's a crowd pleaser.

Gunther also said it's only fitting that the group uses peaches to help the community.

"Ruston and our peaches are our claim to fame. This is our connection to our community and this is our festival," Gunther said.   

Gunther said the group goes through 300 gallons of ice cream during the two day period, three scoops at a time. And they rarely have any left overs. 
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