Fest it up

Published 9:42 pm Wednesday, October 14, 2009

There I was Saturday morning, clutching my camera in one hand and a notebook in another, walking through the Suffolk Airport, trying to take it all in.

Take in all of the sights, the smells, the sounds, and the legumes that make up Suffolk’s own, Peanut Festival.

This is my third year I have worked/reported on Peanut Fest, and (being a Virginia Beach transplant) my sixth attending.

And every year, it is just as captivating as the year before.

First of all, bravo to the men and women at Suffolk Festivals who put this bad boy on. It is no easy task, and yet, it seems to have become second nature for some of the volunteer veterans.

Overnight, the airport is transformed from a vacant stretch of gravel to a full-blown carnival, amphitheater, funnel cake-buffet creation.

It’s pretty amazing.

At one point, I took a left around the Peanut Fest track and found myself staring down the game and ride wing of the airport.

It looked like a scene out of some boardwalk carnival, minus the water, sand and, well, boardwalk.

The point is, Suffolk comes alive during Peanut Fest and completely transforms for a weekend.

Much like during other big events, the city has a certain energy about it.

People of all backgrounds and communities and businesses converge on the same spot just to share the experience that is Peanut Fest.

It’s a neat thing to cover one of these events for the newspaper because you get to see just that, the shared human experience.

It doesn’t matter what your race, creed or gender, people still cannot believe it cost $2 just to throw one baseball against a giant bulls-eye to try and win a stuffed animal that costs roughly $.12 to make.

And it doesn’t matter if you’re a doctor, a lawyer or a janitor, you’re still going to try and win that stupid stuffed animal for your kid.

People still ooh and ahh over the fireworks.

Children of all different races play alongside each other; working on craft projects and riding Ferris Wheels.

It’s a great reminder of how blessed we are to live in a thriving city and supportive community like Suffolk, and it’s a microcosm of the larger melting pot society that generations of men and women have worked so hard to create.

So, while, yes, the purposeful crashing of cars into one another and the thousands of people showing up to watch a truck drag another truck down some mud may seem a little – how should I say – hick-ish to me, it is all part of what makes Peanut Fest great.

And Peanut Fest is part of what makes Suffolk greater.