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Sunny dispositions and a rainy festival

Published 11:17pm Monday, October 14, 2013

It was rainy. It was muddy. For one of its four days, it was as stormy and as shut down as the federal government.

But the 2013 Peanut Fest is now in the books, and even though some of the several inches of rain that fell on the site have yet to evaporate, it’s probably a safe assumption that organizers are glad it’s over.

I attended the Shrimp Feast on Thursday during the vicious storm and was appalled at some of the vitriol being directed at Suffolk Ruritan Club volunteers, as well as police officers who were trying to get control of the situation.

I understand people were upset they did not get the full event they had paid for, but the awful weather and its effects on the site (which included lightning that struck a Peanut Fest tent and almost struck Ruritan volunteers, and rain that put the entire site under at least an inch of standing water and mud) were not the fault of the Ruritans. Some folks said it was perfectly safe after the storm passed by, but if the event had continued and someone had gotten hurt at the site in the awful conditions, most of those people would be singing a different tune.

I also attended Peanut Fest on Saturday, a slightly more hospitable day that was still thoroughly enjoyable for the people who decided to venture out to the festival. Despite a few drizzles here and there, folks still took in the Mud Bog, enjoyed festival food and rides, visited vendors and heard musical acts.

One of my favorite events at Peanut Fest is always the Peanut Butter Sculpting Contest, which is billed as the only one in the world by festival organizers. The Peanut Fest Queen and her court, along with a few other lucky entrants, always come up with unique ideas, but I believe this was one of the best sets of entries I had ever seen.

Several of the contestants made boots, coinciding with the festival theme “Bootscootin’, Shell Crushing Good Time.” But other entries included pumpkins, a horse, a Ferris wheel and the winner, a depiction of peanuts singing in the rain by Alexis Metzgar.

Although it’s certain to be one of the lowest-attended Peanut Fests in recent memory, thanks to the weather (a disappointment after great weather contributed to extremely high attendance last year), those who attended Peanut Fest with a good attitude and made the best of it, despite the rain and the mud, had an enjoyable time.

We’ll all hope for better weather next year.

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