Peanut Fest promises good time

Published 11:34pm Wednesday, September 26, 2012

The 35th annual Peanut Fest promises a good time to all those who come.

The festival, slated for Oct. 4-7, has become a staple of autumn in Hampton Roads. Originally a celebration of the crop that put Suffolk on the map, it has become a celebration of all things Suffolk — the people, the culture, the musicians, the businesses and, yes, the peanut still gets a starring role.

The Ferris wheel is one of the main attractions of the midway at Peanut Fest.

The theme of this year’s shindig is “Still Nutty After All of These Years,” and chairman Joseph Patterson will be leading a group of hundreds of volunteers who pull off the festival every year. Co-vice chairmen Butch Twiford and Jack Brinkley will help him put it together.

“American Idol” star Kellie Pickler is set to headline the musical activities at 4 p.m. on Sunday, bringing her country-pop hits, spunky personality and heavy Southern accent to the distinctly Southern country festival.

Pickler said she is excited to perform at the festival because she loves peanuts and loves festivals.

“Put the word out that I love boiled peanuts,” she said. “Those are the best.”

Pickler also said she enjoys playing at fairs and festivals because they are more intimate than large stadiums and arenas.

“You feel like you’re really singing to the die-hard country fans,” she said, adding that shows at fairs cost far less than in larger venues.

Pickler’s show in Suffolk will cost fans nothing but the cost of parking — just $10 per car or $20 for a four-day pass, which can be purchased at the Suffolk Visitor Center or Holiday Food Stores. Admission is free.

“You get more for your money,” she said. “It’s something you can go to and not have to take a loan from the bank to take your family out for a fun night.”

Other featured musical entertainment will include another former “American Idol” contestant, Casey Abrams, as well as groups such as Guava Jam, Honkytonk Highway, Thunder Creek Bluegrass Band and River Boyz.

Dennis Anderson will bring his monster truck “King Sling” for the second year in a row. Other annual traditions include a peanut butter sculpting contest, demolition derby, truck and tractor pull, motorcycle rally, arts and crafts, fireworks, a sidewalk art contest and more.

More fun will be had in the carnival area, where festival-goers can try their hand at games of chance and skill and pick up a variety of delicious treats. They can also visit booths run by numerous area businesses and organizations.

The festival will be held at the Suffolk Executive Airport. For more information about the festival, call Angie Twiford at 539-6751.

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