FRESNO, Calif. (KFSN) --Fresno State is hosting more than 4,500 elementary students from across the Central Valley Thursday and Friday for the 58th annual Peach Blossom Festival of Communication.
Eight-year-old Jackson Estep has gotten comfortable speaking in front of the classroom-- but this time, it's on a college campus. "It was really cool. I've experienced being in front of an audience before, so I wasn't that nervous but I was still nervous."
This is the second year the Gibson Elementary second grader is participating in the Peach Blossom Festival. "I'm here to do a poem called Goldie Locks has Chicken Pox and it's kinda long," said Estep.
He's one of more than 4,500 performers from 135 elementary schools at Fresno State Thursday and Friday celebrating oral interpretation. Students perform a solo, duo, trio, or group interpretation of their favorite literary piece. "I'm a little bit scared, but I'm really excited about what my rating will be," said Izzie Armstrong, 7-years-old.
"I'm excited-- I'm a little bit nervous," said Jack Roberts, 7-years-old.
"You have students that have been practicing for months, and coaches that have been prepping their students. The ability for them to come and show it off, and potentially get a superior or excellent, they never want to stop talking about it," said Chelby Cheek, Lead Publicity.
Festival organizers said the event is aimed at building public speaking skills but for most of the students, this is their first time on a college campus. "I'm excited about taking them on a tour, and hoping to get their dreams a little bit bigger. I want them to think, maybe college is something for me," said Melinda Franklin, Gibson Elementary.
The festival is run by 30 Fresno State student volunteers-- all providing their guests with a taste of their college experience. Their reward? "All of the students that we have here, and all of the smiling faces after they leave," said Cheek.