After five days of celebrations, Sunday’s Closing Ceremonies, ended the Rockford Peaches 75th Anniversary. At the final day of the fundraiser, excitement was in the air for the future.
“It’s been absolutely amazing,” said Rockford Peach Anniversary Organizer Ed Kuehl. “We had such a great turnout.” Hundreds came out to celebrate the Rockford peaches 75th Anniversary. It all began at Wednesday’s kick-off at the Coronado Theater, to Sunday’s closing ceremony, which started off with kids of all ages, going for the long ball. “We’re here today so my son could be in the home run derby,” says Bernadette Bertone.
Meawhile, Damon Ellis practiced his homerun swing, a chance he’s been waiting for. “It will bring out spirit in people,” said Ellis.
“This has been a very good experience bringing the Rockford peaches here,” said Bertone. “We just want to enjoy as much as possible.”
The celebration was more than just celebrating The Peaches and hitting a few balls. President of the International Women’s Baseball Center Dr. Kat Williams says it’s a opportune time to highlight the momentum in women’s baseball. “We’re celebrating the peaches, but we are using that to help empower girls,” said Dr. Williams. “We’re using that history to encourage them to come play ball, play whatever sport they want. It’s about access and opportunity for them.”
Over the course of the peaches 5-day string of celebratory events, organizers hoped to raise funds for a International Women’s Baseball Educational Center and Museum. The plan would be to build the center across the street from Beyer Stadium.
“There will be interactive displaces there will be artifacts, there will be memorabilia,” said Dr. Williams. “Tthere will be that element, but there will be a lot of interactive educational opportunities for students all ages.” And hopes it would preserve the history of Women’s Baseball, including the Rockford’s Peaches legacy.
“There’s no crying in baseball! Yes there’s no crying in baseball,” said Kuehl.