Grand Marshal is Paralympic Fencer Ellen Geddes; Scholarship Winner is STHS Senior Taylor Dean
On May 7, the Johnston, SC, Peach Blossom Festival will showcase great entertainment, arts and crafts, food concessions, a parade, an area for children, a cruise-in, and much more. The popular Festival is now in its 38th year.
The parade Grand Marshal this year is Ellen Geddes, who represented the United States in the Tokyo Paralympics in 2021. The first-time Paralympian finished 10th overall in the individual foil and 11th in the individual epee. The U.S. team finished 7th in epee and 8th in foil.
In addition to her fencing, Ms. Geddes breeds horses through Magnolia Sport Horses in Aiken. Also, she has 17 more Magnolia Sport Horses broodmares and young stock at Maplewood Farm in Johnston.
She got involved in the sport of para-fencing about a decade ago, after she was paralyzed in a car accident. She is now the top para-fencer in the United States in her category in both foil and epee, as well as the captain of the U.S. Women’s para-fencing team.
She’s ranked 8th worldwide in the combination ranking of her weapons and has been on the international circuit since 2013, getting gold medals at multiple North American cups and bronze at an edition of the Montreal World Cup.
Robert Herlong Scholarship
This year, the Robert H. Herlong Scholarship Award winner is Taylor Dean.
Taylor is the Student Body President at Strom Thurmond High School. She plans to attend Lander University.
She is extremely active in the community. She has raise thousands of dollars for the Ronald McDonald House through her families “gigantic” Christmas light display. She has also taken photos of the STHS baseball team players at no charge as a service to the players and their families.
Taylor is also a competitive swimmer for STHS, holding five records for the school and two for the region. Because of her love of swimming, she believes everyone should learn to swim, which is why she has provided swim lessons to families free of charge.
In addition, she assists with Special Olympics and Project Unify as additional outreach to her community. She was also one of two delegates for Palmetto Girls State.
The Festival begins at 9 a.m. Saturday, when crafters and food vendors open and entertainment begins. The parade is held at 10:30 a.m. A Cruise In will bring in many vehicles for participants to enjoy. The cars will be available for viewing after the parade through about 3 p.m. in the parking lot of All About Performance (formerly Jim Satcher Motors).
This year, Unique D-Zigns is featuring a “Fashion Stroll” in front of its store at 414 Calhoun St. in downtown Johnston at 3:30 p.m.
All events are held in historic downtown Johnston.
The Johnston Peach Blossom Festival Premier Sponsor is AT&T.
Other Corporate Sponsors are Generac, Vyve Broadband, Edgefield County Health Care, J.W. Yonce and Sons, NAPA of Johnston/Edgefield, Dominion Energy, Bridgestone, Herlong Ford, National Wild Turkey Federation, KJs Market, SRP Federal Credit Union, and First Citizens Bank, Johnston.
This year’s Johnston Peach Blossom Festival Entertainment Sponsors are Dr. Hugh Morgan Family Practice, Moorecraft Cabinets, Trantech Radiator Products, Pendarvis Chevrolet, and Titan Farms.
Thousands of patrons descended on Johnston each year to enjoy the day set aside to honor the peach industry, which has been so important in the development of the area. Each year, the Town goes all out with the Festival to remind citizens about the peach industry and to open its arms to visitors.
The Johnston Development Corporation, a non-profit volunteer organization, sponsors the Festival. The Corporation works to aid the community in areas such as economic development, education, recreation, historic preservation, tourism, scientific and cultural opportunities, and continued promotion of Johnston.