Late October brings a chill to the night air, setting the stage for Halloween and the excitement of the National Peanut Festival Fair. The harvest is almost complete and the celebration is beginning, October 29th is the opening day of the fairgrounds. The queen has been crowned and the carnival has arrived; food, rides, contests, and exhibits are open and ready to be enjoyed. What follows includes information about all the events that will be happening during festival week.
The National Peanut Festival fairgrounds are located on Highway 231 South, just three miles south of the Ross Clark Circle in Dothan, Alabama. Dothan is located in the southeast corner of Alabama; called the Tri-State area because three states come together in this corner – Alabama, Georgia, and Florida. People from all three states participate in the celebration as well as visitors from all over the country. Peanuts are the main crop produced in the area with cotton and cattle finishing out the top three agricultural products. More than 65% of the peanuts produced in the United States are grown in the 100-mile circle surrounding Dothan.
“A festival honoring the peanut was inaugurated in 1938 on a near freezing Thursday, November 10. The three day event included a pageant, a parade, a historical play, and a grand ball. The honored guest speaker was a modest, unassuming man from Tuskegee Institute who gained international fame with his development of over 300 products from the peanut, Dr. George Washington Carver. In 1940, the Chester R. Vickery Post No. 12 of the American Legion sponsored the peanut festival and cadets from the new Advance Flying School at Napier Field were featured in the 1941 shortened version of the festival. The peanut festival was celebrated annually through 1941. During the years of World War II, the festival was not held, but in 1947, the Jaycees presented the first post-war festival and has continued every year since. By 1952, the National Peanut Festival had expanded to the degree that the Chamber of Commerce no longer had sufficient time to sponsor and oversee the event. After the 1953 National Peanut Festival, it was decided that a carnival should be included to help finance the annual event.” (http://www.nationalpeanutfestival.com/history.asp)
The week of October 29th until Sunday November 7th has been set aside this year for the festival. Tickets to enter the gate are $7.00 with various options for prices on the rides. Concerts are included in the $7.00 entry ticket. The web page is filled with information on the tickets, activities, pictures, and more. Pictures are updated on the web page daily.
Contests, listed in detail on the web page, include costume (Halloween), coloring, arts and crafts, cake decorating, recipe contest with peanuts, photography, agricultural events and more. Midway entertainment includes rides, Wambols Amazing Animals, Garcia Brothers Circus, Circle C Petting Zoo, Hogway Speedway, Josh Knotts Illusions & Escapes and Ackmonster’s Chainsaw Artist – Brian Ackley. Food found on the midway include corn dogs, roasted corn, sausage dogs, funnel cakes, elephant ears, turkey legs, and more. Make a point of coming out this week to enjoy the fall weather and take in the sights, sounds, smells, and tastes of the National Peanut Festival. Events for the week have been summarized below. For more detailed information and pictures, visit http://www.nationalpeanutfestival.com/.
Friday October 29th
Ribbon Cutting at Main Gate
Saturday October 30th
Gates open at 8:00 a. m.
Cheer leading competition 9:00 a. m.
Midway opens 10:00 a. m.
Corey Smith Concert 9:00 p. m.
Sunday October 31st Halloween
Gates open at 1:00 p. m.
Chris Young Concert 7:30 p. m.
Monday November 1st
Kindergarten Day and Farmer’s Day
Border Collie Demonstration
Calf Scramble and Greased Pig Contest
Wednesday November 3rd
Special Citizens Day
Shane Owens Concert 7:30 p. m.
Thursday November 4th
Senior Citizens Day
Steel Magnolia Concert 7:30 p. m.
Friday November 5th
Bebo Norman Concert 7:30 p. m.
Saturday November 6th
National Peanut Festival Parade – downtown Dothan at 9:30 a. m.
Demolition Derby – 2:00 p. m. and 7:00 p. m.
Sunday November 7th
Gates open at 1:00 p. m. and close at 6:00 p. m.