Saturday washout

Published 12:00 am Sunday, October 9, 2005

The empty Ferris wheel turned against the grey horizon.

A handful of food vendors closed up shop before noon; a couple never even bothered to open at all.

The handful of people, covered in plastic rain gear or under colorful umbrellas, who ventured to the Peanut Fest ducked from tent to tent, in hopes of finding a dry spot.


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&uot;It always seems to rain at Peanut Fest,&uot; said Bobbie Wright, a former Suffolk resident who moved to South Hill last month. Wright and her daughter, Claire, came back for the day to participate in the peanut cooking contest.

&uot;But it’s never been this bad. Usually, it just real muddy,&uot; she said. &uot;It’s wet out here. I wish I’d stayed home today.&uot;

Even though it was dry inside the arts and craft tent, the traffic was light all day. Most vendors planned to stick it out through the day, although a couple did close early.

&uot;Some of us diehards are going to stay out here,&uot; said Clyde Batts, a four year Peanut Fest veteran who makes handcrafted vinyl etchings. &uot;I’m going to stick it out.&uot;

The rain is not going to keep us down, said Tina Miller of Atlanta, who is selling hematite jewelry.

&uot;We’re still here and we are not going anywhere,&uot; she said. &uot;As long as we have people to talk to, we’re fine. You have to have an optimistic attitude.&uot;

Peanut Fest organizers apparently have that same optimistic attitude.

Although some of Saturday’s events have been cancelled, two major festival traditions – the peanut butter sculpting contest and the pumpkin coloring contest – have been postponed until Sunday, said festival volunteer Sherry Underwood. Specific times had not yet been determined.

As of 2 p.m. Saturday, the 8 p.m. Saturday performance by The Little River Band, was still a go, Underwood said.

The fourth annual Suffolk Swamp Roar Motorcycle Rally, initially scheduled for Saturday, is on tap for this morning, said Theresa Earles, the city’s tourism development coordinator.

According to Underwood, several other activities were cancelled because of the weather, including all entertainment on the Harvest and Family stages, the horseshoe tournament, and the tractor pull.

Mother Nature may be somewhat more cooperative today, said James Foster, a meteorological technician in the National Weather Services Wakefield office.

There’s about a 50 percent chance of showers on Sunday, said Foster. And if it does rain, the showers won’t be as heavy as they were on Saturday.

Parts of southeastern Virginia have received nearly three inches of

rain in the past couple of days, a lingering effect from tropical storm Tammy, he said.