Student leaders pivot, create virtual Peach Blossom

Leavenworth Elementary School - Tori, Mya, Giselle, Ineztha, Christian, & Issabella

As the Peach Blossom Festival approached last year, COVID-19 was beginning to spread at a rapid rate. The Peach Blossom Festival was scheduled for March 12 and 13. As concern for potential “super-spreader” events grew, the festival organizers realized bringing thousands of elementary school students to campus would not be possible and canceled the event. Just days later, the Fresno State campus closed and the lockdown began.

This year, the teams of Communication students who organized the festival had a monumental challenge. They needed to figure out how to rebuild and run the entire event online. They began by building a brand new website. The website enabled students, classes and schools to register, submit performances and display those videos with scores and feedback. 

The video deadline was a couple of weeks before the event to give reviewers time to watch each video and provide thoughtful and positive feedback. Then on March 25 and 26, the video “Video Gallery” was published. Participants were judged on eye contact, voice quality, body movement and overall performance. Teachers could then download certificates to present to their students.


Score: Spectacular

Madden, Preston, Sophia M., Maddy, Emmalee, Maison, Jewel, Genesis, Sophia L., Arabella, Athena, Rebecca, Caroline, Dulce- Maria, Marissa, Aayden, Adelina, Khloe, Kenzie

Score: Spectacular

Madison, Andrew, Adetmaria, Alannah, Asha, & Noah

Score: Spectacular

Tori, Mya, Giselle, Ineztha, Christian, & Issabella

Score: Spectacular

“Peach Blossom is one of those Fresno events that so many of us — college students, teachers and parents — participated in when we were children and of which we have very fond memories still. It’s an event that’s been around for more than sixty years, and one that we want to be able to protect for sixty more,” said Elise Barba, co-director of this year’s Peach Blossom Festival. “We want today’s kids to grow up with the memories that we have of performing for Fresno State’s Peach Blossom Festival.”

In addition to young student’s presentations, community leaders joined in the fun and put on their own performances.

Lennox T. Duong is an acting alumna from the Department of Theatre Arts at Fresno State. Upon completion of her BA, she continued her performing arts education at the prestigious Juilliard School! Duong is an accomplished actress and offers this piece of advice “Be yourself, enjoy, and don’t let the thoughts of the outcome color or cloud the experience.”

Christina Elmore is an accomplished American actress, known for her role in the TV series The Last Ship as Lieutenant Alisha Granderson and her roles on “Twenties” and HBO’s “Insecure.” She is a Harvard Graduate with her degree in African American Studies.

Isis De Luna is a leader in the LGBTQ+ Community. Isis De Luna is a drag queen and host of the Drag Queen Story Hour at Spectrum Community Center. Isis is outspoken about progress, equity, anti-racism, the Indigenous experience, and community. Isis served as the 43rd Empress of the Imperial Dove Court de Fresno, Fresno’s oldest Queer Non-Profit. She successfully raised $20,000 for the local community to help with issues such as homelessness, education, and cultivating the arts.

Our newly elected Mayor Jerry Dyer is no stranger to Fresno State or community service. Before becoming our city’s new leader, Mayor Dyer graduated from CSUF with his BS in Criminology. Mayor Dyer used that degree for 40 years to serve within the Fresno Police Department, where he acted as Chief from 2001. Jerry has been married to his wife, Diane, for 40 years and has been blessed with two children and five grandchildren.

The Peach Blossom Festival allows many rural students with no college background the opportunity to connect to higher education.  The interactions and positive experiences shared between the Valley’s youth and Fresno State’s students, faculty and athletes are invaluable.

The Festival is co-directed by Communication Department faculty members Christina Wells and Elise Barba.

Posted by

Fresno State College of Arts and Humanities Communication Specialist

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