The festival, through flavors and photosPublished 8:41pm Monday, October 15, 2012
The weather was gorgeous — not too hot — as the helicopter buzzed overhead and people streamed into the Suffolk Executive Airport for the annual Peanut Festival. I was handed a cup of peanuts as I entered the festival grounds. There was a constant stream of people checking out the best of what Suffolk has to offer.singing
The festival atmosphere offered music in the background, chatter from businesses selling their wares, the smell of food wafting from booths and the screams of delight as people enjoyed the rides.
I have already gone on at length in this space to explain my love and devotion to everything peanuts. Which is why the idea of Suffolk’s Peanut Fest excited me. How could a whole festival about my beloved legume be anything but awesome? I even ate a peanut butter sandwich before I headed over for my first visit to the festival.
This year the Suffolk News-Herald staff — including myself — produced the newspaper from the festival. So, I got a major introduction to Peanut Fest.
I didn’t get to see everything at the festival, but I think I got a pretty good taste from walking around, sampling the food and seeing the people walk by our mobile newsroom. I found the complimentary peanuts to be a good snack while working.
What I didn’t get to see at the Peanut Fest, I got to see via readers’ photos. A steady stream of people stopped by our booth to submit their photos. While choosing which photos we would squeeze into the next day’s paper, I was able to check out the view from the top of the Ferris wheel and see what our guest photographers had caught of Nansemond River High School’s jazz band performance, the peanut-butter carving contest and other great scenes from the festival. I was impressed not only by the quality of photos, but also by the great scenes of the festival. I was especially amazed at what the contestants were able to create out of blocks of peanut butter.
Now, I think I have gotten a comprehensive taste of Suffolk.
This summer I visited the downtown Farmers’ Market. Once there, I picked up local strawberry jam, cucumbers, blueberries, peaches and green peppers. I got to visit local vendors and get some healthy produce at the same time.
At Taste of Suffolk, my husband and I made sure we had our appetites ready for a culinary tour of the city. We had barbecue sandwiches, tacos, ribs, iced coffee, ice cream and even did a little wine tasting at a new downtown shop. I made sure to go for a run that morning to offset the unusual amount eating. I was quite full.
Peanut Fest, on the other hand, gave me a chance to learn about a part of Suffolk beyond its great food. And I was pleased with the opportunity.