Coronation of a new queen will be one of the highlights of the upcoming Cobden Peach Festival. Candidates in the 2019 pageant, as well as the 2018 Peach Festival queen, gathered for a photograph. From left are 2018 Peach Festival queen Grace Pitts and 2019 queen candidates Lauren Lyerla, Meredith Flamm, Lexi Miller, Grace Girtman, Alejandra Lopez and Addison Osman. Photo by Tiffiny Dillow for The Gazette-Democrat.

Cobden Peach Festival set Friday, Saturday

The 82nd Peach Festival will be celebrated in Cobden on Friday and Saturday, Aug. 2-3, in the Union County village.

The event is sponsored by the Cobden Lions Club. Proceeds go to community and charitable projects.

The Peach Festival takes place in the Cobden Community Park area along Locust Street.

Most of the activities are scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. both days.  

The festival will feature Bounce Blast Inflatables, games, a queen pageant, food, peach cobbler, bingo,  raffle and the popular Spin & Win game which offers peaches as prizes. 

Musical entertainment for Friday will be Uncle Pecos. On Saturday, the Tucker Kuhnert Band will perform. 

Run/Walk, Fun Run

The Cobden Runners’/Walkers’ Club will sponsor its annual Peach Festival 5K run/walk and 1-mile fun run starting at 7:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 3.  

The event is scheduled to begin at the Cobden Community Park on Locust Street. Information about the run is available by calling 618-713-4245.


A Peach Festival parade is scheduled Saturday, Aug. 3, beginning at 4:30 p.m.  The parade route will be through downtown Cobden.  

Entries are currently being accepted by the Village of Cobden. The grand marshal is the Cobden Women’s Club.

The Cobden Women’s Club was organized on Sept. 1, 1908, and was originally called the Rose Maple Club. 

The club was formed to benefit the housewife and mother, and the slogan “Live for the Good of Humanity” was adopted. 

In 1939, the club officially changed its name to the Cobden Women’s Club.

The women’s club has been an active community organization and has sponsored several public civic projects.  

It was in 1956 that the club started its relationship with the Cobden Lions Club by being involved at the Peaches ‘n Cream stand during the Peach Festival.

The longest serving active member is Sue Brumleve with 35 years of service. She also serves as secretary/treasurer. 

Mary Anna Weakley is president, Joeann Clutts first vice president and Jo Ann Yates is second vice president. The club has 16 members.

Information about the parade is available by calling Cobden Village Hall at 893-2425.

Museum, Shop 

The Union County Museum and its resale shop located on South Appleknocker Street in downtown Cobden will be open Friday and Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day. 

The museum is featuring an exhibit about the Apollo 11 moon landing. The display features a private collection from an engineer who worked for IBM during this period.  

The museum will also have on display history fair projects from three local schools. 

“Floods of Southern Illinois”

The Union County Historical Society will present a special exhibit titled “Floods of Southern Illinois.” 

The display will feature photos from the 1898 Shawneetown flood, the floods of 1903, 1912-13, 1937, 1943 and 1993. 

The photos are from private collections and from the archives of the society. Other historical exhibits are also planned. 

The exhibit will be at the society’s resource and cultural center at 103 N. Appleknocker (the former Cobden medical clinic). 

Hours will be Friday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. 

Visitors are welcomed to come to Cobden and experience the village’s unique shops, eating establishments, and nearby wineries. 

An informational flyer detailing the Peach Festival activities, along with other places to visit in Cobden, will be available at most of the participating establishments. 

More information is available by contacting the Village of Cobden at 893-2425 or by visiting the village’s website at

Reigning Queen

This year’s Cobden Peach queen pageant is scheduled Friday and Saturday nights.

The reigning Peach Festival queen is Grace Pitts.

Debbie Stroehlein of Cobden coordinates the queen pageant.

Grace Pitts

Grace Pitts is the reigning Peach Festival queen.

Grace, 19, of Cobden, is the daughter of Kent and Nancy Pitts.

She is a Cobden High School graduate and Shawnee Community College student.

She works at Subway in Anna and at Vina’s Dance Studio. She has been a ballerina for 16 years.

Her hobbies and interests include baby-sitting, being an avid reader and riding horses.

She noted that her favorite place is “the dance studio because it’s her second home, with so many great memories.”

Grace said that she has “enjoyed every second of being the Peach Queen.”

2019 Queen


Profiles of the 2019 Peach Festival queen candidates, including their sponsors in the pageant, follow:

Meredith Flamm

Meredith Flamm, 19, of Cobden, is the daughter of Mike and Lynn Flamm.

She is a Cobden High School graduate and attends Mississippi State University.

She is a certified nursing assistant at The Landings in Carbondale.

She enjoys playing sports and being active. She played basketball, softball and volleyball throughout high school.

She enjoys water skiing and wakeboarding at the lake with friends and family.

At Mississippi State University, she is majoring in biological sciences and minoring in chemistry. Once she graduates, she hopes to attend medical school, with aspirations to become a physician.

Meredith said her favorite place “is at home on my family’s farm, Flamm Orchards. I have grown up on the farm my entire life and it is a very special place to my family and I.”

Her sponsor is Flamm Orchards.

Grace Girtman

Grace Girtman, 16, of Anna, is the daughter of Dale and Dortha Boatright of Anna and Tim Girtman of Goreville.

She attends Anna-Jonesboro Community High School. 

She is employed at the Hometown Diner in Jonesboro.

Grace is trained in the triple jump. She enjoys running long distances in her free time, practicing makeup techniques, modeling, coon hunting with her father, cooking, designing clothes from sketch, gardening with her mom, working on old cars with her parents, yoga, hiking, working out, playing volleyball, traveling and enjoying any activities outdoors.

She is a Brand Ambassador for Teen Hearts, Halifornia and Breezy Swim. She was crowned 2017 Junior Miss Union County.

Grace said her favorite places are Gatlinburg and Pigeon Forge in Tennessee, “because it has always been a family tradition every year and it helps all of the family get together.”

Her sponsor is Hometown Diner in Jonesboro.

Lauren Lyerla

Lauren Lyerla, 16, of Alto Pass, is the daughter of Matt and Terra Lyerla.

She is a Cobden High School student.

She is a full-time child care provider and works part-time at Hedman’s Vineyards.

Lauren is a trained child care provider. She has worked as an assistant cheer coach at Cobden Junior High School. 

She is a model and a representative for Kenz Boutique and Amanda Myers-Neilson Photography.

Lauren actively researches on how autism affects children and their families, while enjoying hands-on learning with her brother, who was diagnosed at age 2.

“I am very interested in pursuing further research on new and successful methods of allowing children affected by autism to reach their full potential,” she said.

She describes herself as “a passionate supporter of the National Autism Association.”

Lauren said that “Nashville, Tennessee, is my favorite destination to visit with family and friends. I enjoy listening to the performances of talented musicians and seeing the variety of people who share the same love for Music City.”

Her sponsor is Kenz Boutique.

Alejandra Lopez

Alejandra Lopez, 18, of Cobden, is the daughter of Rosa and Jesus Lopez.

She is a recent graduate of Cobden High School and attends Shawnee Community College.

She sells handmade accessories online.

Alejandra said that she has a talent for sewing “because I’m able to bring my art work to life.”

“One of my hobbies consists of altering secondhand clothing into something that fits with the current fashion trends. My other hobby is abstract painting mixed with silhouettes,” she said.

She said that two of her accomplishments this year “were having the opportunity to build my own guitar and upcycling my evening gown that you see on stage. These experiences taught me a lot about hard work and the craftsmanship process.”

Her favorite place is “dining in at McDonald’s with my friends.”

Her sponsor is Phases Beauty and Hair Salon.

Lexi Miller

Lexi Miller, 18, of Cobden, is the daughter of David and Elizabeth Miller.

She is a Cobden High School graduate and attends Shawnee Community College.

Lexi said she loves to go hunting, to do things around the farm, painting, doing people’s hair and makeup, fishing, going to the lake, listening to music and hanging out with her friends.

She is pursuing studies to obtain a nursing degree. She is on a softball scholarship at Shawnee Community College.

She said her “favorite place to be is on the lake because I get to spend time in the sun with my friends and family listening to good music.”

Her sponsor is Bass Farms.

Addison Osman

Addison Osman, 17, of Anna, is the daughter of Eric and Janice Osman.

She is a student at Anna-Jonesboro Community High School.

She is employed as a baby-sitter.

She has trained and competed in gymnastics for 12 years, where she has earned various state and regional titles.

She enjoys scrapbooking and drawing.

She is involved in cheerleading, track and field, and various school clubs, such as National Honor Society, Beta Club, math team, Spanish Club and FCA.

She said her favorite place is The Pit at A-JCHS because football Fridays as a cheerleader not only let her be involved with the fans, but the football team as well.

Her sponsor is Tooth Tech.




The Gazette-Democrat

112 Lafayette St.
Anna, Illinois 62906
Office Number: (618) 833-2158

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