Parade welcomes Peanut Fest week

Published 12:00 am Saturday, October 4, 2003

Suffolk News-Herald

News Channel 3’s Patrick Rockey said Friday that we have a great weekend on tap for the 26th Annual Peanut Fest Parade, set to begin at 10 a.m. today. Get to Downtown Suffolk and find a spot along either West Washington Street or North Main Street to get the best show you’ve seen in a year.

As for the weather, Rockey and the meteorological service say we have an entire week of good weather for the Suffolk Ruritans’ Shrimp Feast as well as Peanut Fest.

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The Ruritans’ 26th Annual Shrimp Feast kicks of the excitement of goober week in Suffolk, throttling into full gear Thursday afternoon at 3 p.m. There will be plenty of food, including those succulent shrimp, fried chicken and barbecue and beverages to suit all tastes. Get tickets now for this annually sold-out event or you may be left out of the fun. Tickets can be purchased at a number of businesses, including the Suffolk division of the Hampton Roads Chamber of Commerce, First Federal Savings Bank, Bennett’s Creek Pharmacy and Oliver’s Grocery.

As for the parade, it will feature the 2003 Peanut Fest Queen, Audrey Brooke Perry, daughter of Thom and Colleen Perry, and her court of princesses. Perry is a student at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy. The court of princesses includes Briana Klink, daughter of Brian and Diana Klink. Briana is a Lakeland High student, as is Ginger Rawls, daughter of David and Katherine Rawls.

Ashley Cox, daughter of Dorothy and Shannon Cox, is a student at Nansemond River High. Gabriella Ferraioli, daughter of John and Joanne Ferraioli, is also from Nansemond River. Hollis Gwaltney, the daughter of Billy and Becky Gwaltney, is a student at Nansemond-Suffolk Academy.

Ashley Danielle Cordero, 17, the Suffolk Ruritan Queen for the 2003 Shrimp Feast, will also appear in the Peanut Fest parade. This year marks her second parade appearance since she also served as Queen of the Suffolk Ruritan Club in the Ruritan National Homecoming parade in May.

Look for the 2003 Peanut Fest Chairman, attorney Jesse J. Johnson, to follow. He will be accompanied by his wife, City Councilwoman Linda Johnson.

Alice Bridger will bring the &uot;Goober Gang&uot; to the parade and you’ll get a look at the young people from Lakeland and Nansemond River High Schools who will serve as Ambassadors at the festival grounds.

Special Investigator Al Bremer of the Commonwealth’s Attorney’s office will make an appearance in the &uot;EXILE&uot; car. He’ll be promoting Commonwealth Attorney C. Phillips Ferguson’s tough approach to reducing gun violence in the city.

The Marching Dukes of Windsor High School will visit Suffolk lead by Drum Major Conna Stamn. They are excited to be a part of the parade so they plan a big show.

The Marching Pack of Smithfield High will also perform with more than 50 musicians.

Of course, the Lakeland High School Marching Blue Waves, the Marching Warriors of Nansemond River High and the Marching Saints of Nansemond-Suffolk Academy will all put on a great show along the parade route.

By the way, once the bands finish performing in the parade, they’ll visit Peanut Fest to participate in &uot;The Battle of the Bands,&uot; an open competition for any band to enter.

This being a political year, the parade will be populated with candidates for the clerk of court, and the city will be represented by most of its officials.

There will also be a couple of Peanut Fest performers putting in an early appearance including the &uot;Tap Dancing Terror of Tidewater,&uot; a 73-year young dancer who tapped his way from Pearl Harbor to Red Square in Moscow.

Girls and Boy Scouts, church representatives from across the city, cheerleaders, the &uot;Cheer Nuts,&uot; and floats will also help make up the parade.

No parade in Suffolk takes place without the beloved &uot;Beau,&uot; otherwise known as Abraham Mitchell. He is a quick-change artist who uses his limo like Superman used a phone booth. You’ll know it’s him when you hear the crowd yell, &uot;Ham!&uot;

Enjoy the parade today and then visit Peanut Fest Thursday through Sunday. The 300 dedicated volunteers who build this show have something for everyone.

Senior citizens and preschoolers will be our honored guests with special activities on Friday, Oct. 10. &uot;Gooberland&uot; features strolling characters, puppet and magic shows, Ronald McDonald, petting zoo and pony rides, family stage entertainment and much more. The 13th Annual Nationwide Demolition Derby is also scheduled for Friday at Peanut Fest.

Throughout the weekend you will find plenty of arts & crafts, interesting and entertaining exhibits and an abundance of festival food!

National, regional and local artists will display their talents on one of two stages that will be rocking and rolling during the four-day family oriented event.

This year, Peanut Fest has a new attraction; the World’s Largest Peanut Butter Sculpture. Producer’s Peanut Company, Inc. has created more than 2,400 pounds of special goober butter for this exciting to capture a world record according to the Guinness Book of World Records. This huge sculpture is in addition to the Peanut Fest’s traditional Peanut Butter Sculpture Contest that offers the Peanut Fest Queen & Court and other local celebrities to try their hand at sculpting something recognizable out of a 12-pound block of peanut butter. Both of these events take place next Saturday.

There will be plenty of parking at the airport where the festival takes place. Four-day decals allow unlimited parking per car for $12 per pass. They are available at Sentry Marts across the city