See the schedule for the festival in downtown Middletown Saturday, Aug. 17.

The Middletown Historical Society is presenting the 26th annual Olde-Tyme Peach Festival Saturday, Aug. 17 in Middletown. As always, all activities are free, courtesy of sponsors and partners.

Parade

The parade kicks off the festival at 8:45 a.m., starting at Everett Meredith Middle School on South Broad Street and traveling north to Main Street, then turning east on Main, ending at Catherine Street.

The parade features an exciting variety of antique cars, fire equipment, costumed participants, dancers, performers, church groups and horses and bands including the community’s own Appoquinimink and Middletown high school marching bands.

Peaches at Historical Society booth

At the Middletown Historical Society Booth at Cochran Square, volunteers from the Appoquinimink High School Band and Band Boosters will assist in selling peaches, Peach Festival T-shirts and aprons. They will also help with information, directions, and recruiting new Historical Society members. Peaches are available by the piece, bag, or carton.

Cochran Square is at the corner of Main and Broad streets.

Inside the museum

The Middletown Historical Society Museum and grounds, 216 N. Broad St., in the Academy Building is a great place to cool off, sit down, use the restrooms, purchase baked goods made by the M.O.T. Senior Center, and learn about local history. Downstairs is handicapped accessible, with a ramp leading to the back door.

The museum features two exhibits downstairs. “Reflections of Middletown” shows an interesting collection of depictions of local people through the years, using various media from daguerreotypes to oil on canvas. The Historical Society has recently added lots of new photos, plus a display of photos from Peach Festivals through the years. The museum’s fascinating World War I exhibit, which shows life at the front and at home 100 years ago, has been expanded with more sensory experiences. This year marks the centennial of the peace treaty of World War I. The Historical Society will be closing this exhibit this fall.

Pies and cobblers by the piece or whole will be on sale by the M.O.T. Jean Birch Senior Center for visitors who find it more convenient than at the Senior Center location.

Upstairs the Historical Society has a newly-refreshed art exhibit called “Middletown Mixed Media: Artists Past and Present” which features 25 works of art in various media, from sculpture to water color to stained glass. The artists all had some connection to the Middletown area. A few were professionals.

The “Living Together” exhibit, telling about various ethnic and racial groups that have lived in this area, will be open upstairs.

The children’s “Please touch” room will be open with old fashioned, unpowered, silent, games and toys.

The Historical Society is pleased to present the new exhibit upstairs on the history of peach farming in this area, especially focusing on the story of Samuel F. Jones, a local African-American man who started on his road to becoming a prominent farmer just after the Civil War through his work with peaches. There are several hands-on components of this exhibit.

The Victorian school room upstairs has been redesigned and refurbished. Come sit in the old fashioned desks and try your hand at cursive writing.

Hy-Point Dairy Farms, one of the Festival sponsors, has generously given the Historical Society 300 coupons for a free ice cream cone. Society members will be handing out the coupons to visitors who come to learn from the museum displays.

Outside the museum

On the museum grounds, the Historical Society will host several booths run by various historical groups. Visit the Victorians of Virtue and Valor to see what life was like in Middletown in the 1860s. Visit the soldiers, make an historic toy, and play historic games. They’ll be giving demonstrations and answering questions until 4 p.m.

The High-Point Dairy Stand where coupons for free ice cream may be redeemed is located near the main door of the museum.

Behind the museum is the action packed Kids’ Zone, loaded with games and giant inflatables, provided by Jump on Over, the main Peach Festival sponsor.

Everett Theatre and Gibby Center

At the Gilbert W. Perry Jr. Center for the Arts, affectionately known as the Gibby Center, come in from the heat and enjoy peach cobbler and live music. The Gibby Gallery will host top-notch vendors with unique crafts and jewelry. The silent auction fundraiser “Art from the Heart” is featured in the gallery. Help keep the arts alive in Middletown.

The Everett Theatre will be showing cartoons, selling candy and popcorn, and providing theatrical entertainment.

Both venues are on West Main Street.

Church on Main

Located across from the Everett Theatre with the large clock on top, Church on Main will offer a place to rest, air conditioning and restrooms, and will sell peach ice cream.

Grace Church on Pennington Square

One of the best kept secrets at the Peach Festival is Grace Church featuring the Praise Team Tent with live bands and singers performing uplifting music throughout the day on Pennington Street.

Everyone is welcome to drop in for a refreshing bottle of water, or sit and relax in the air-conditioned dining area where you can enjoy your own food. A comfort station restroom is available.

Children big and small should be on the lookout for the misting station in front of the church on the Pennington Street side. Dogs are welcome at the misting station, too, just make sure you bring your owner.

M.O.T. Jean Birch Senior Center

The air-conditioned Senior Center at 300 S. Scott St., Middletown, features peach desserts, a pie contest, lunch and a car show. Here’s the schedule:

8 a.m. to 3 p.m. - pre-ordered pies may be picked up (must have receipt);

9 a.m. - doors open for sales of peach desserts, jams and jellies, gifts, gently used jewelry and purses (some baked goods are also available at the Historical Society Museum on North Broad Street);

Car show at the bandstand with 19 award categories with trophies awarded at 3 p.m.

11 a.m. - peach pie contest;

Lunch, featuring: “Thelma’s chicken salad,” egg salad, chicken Caesar salad, baked beans, and pie by the slice (a la mode if you like).

Volunteer Hose Company

The Middletown firefighters will host an open house at the firehouse on West Green Street that will showcase fire safety and best practices.

The stunning fire department vehicles and equipment will be displayed along with units from the Delaware National Guard with information and giveaways.

A comfort station restroom will be provided by St. Francis Hospital.