Go out to Peanut Festival

Published 9:25 pm Monday, October 5, 2009

The annual Peanut Festival is coming up this weekend, and it looks like it’s shaping up to be a ton of fun.

The 32nd annual celebration of Suffolk’s signature goober, the Peanut Fest takes more than 300 volunteers to pull together. They have so many volunteers that some of the volunteers are there exclusively to cook food for the other volunteers.

“Next week, we’ll be living out there,” joked Cathy Richards during my interview with her last week. Richards is the chairman of the Peanut Fest’s executive committee this year, supervising nearly two dozen subcommittee coordinators in a variety of areas. More than 300 volunteers make up the various subcommittees, which include arts and crafts, concessions, emergency services, fire departments, parking and electrical.

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As Richards explained to me the enormous amount of work that goes into planning Peanut Fest, I was astounded. The volunteers began meeting in November, only a month after last year’s Peanut Fest, to critique last year’s event. They took a break in December and January, but got rolling again in February to start planning.

The volunteers met every month, sometimes even every two weeks or every week. Some of them gave up time with their jobs, families, friends and even other volunteer efforts to make the four-day celebration happen for everybody else.

It looks like they managed to pull together a great show for this weekend. All of the events that have come to be connected with Peanut Fest — the shrimp feast, demolition derby, concerts, bands, karaoke contest, truck and tractor pull and more will be available. Some events that have come about in the past couple of years, such as a cornhole tournament and chalk art contest, also are on the agenda for the weekend.

Entertainment such as Phil Vassar and Pat Travers will come to Suffolk to provide music for the celebration. Local performances such as the Peanut City Cloggers, Dynamic Movements, The Academy of Dance and Music, Triple T Sports Center and other local acts will please everyone.

And, of course, the carnival rides, foods, games and activities we all know and love will be in abundance at the festival. There’s even a fireworks show at 8 p.m. on Saturday.

So, there’s something for everyone at the Peanut Fest. If you go, you’re sure to have fun and be entertained.