A great festival

Published 1:47 pm Tuesday, October 12, 2010

After receiving as much as 12 inches of rain during a long, dreary first weekend of October, Suffolk was ready — perhaps even due — for a break.

The 33rd annual Suffolk Peanut Festival offered just the break that folks needed. And if you were out there on the grounds of Suffolk’s airport at just about any time during the four-day festival, you know that huge numbers of people took advantage of the weekend’s beautiful weather to have a little fun in honor of Suffolk’s favorite fall crop.

Peanuts, sadly, could be hard to find at the Peanut Festival. Gone are the days of young ladies in peanut dresses, of elephants cavorting atop mounds of goobers. With the removal of government price supports a few years back, the peanut crop lost much of its profitability, and Suffolk — Peanut Capital of the U.S.A. — today finds farmers growing goobers less and less. And as the importance of the crop diminishes, it seems, the peanut’s preeminent position at the Peanut Festival also has suffered.

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Still, there were roasted peanuts and peanut pies to be had, if one knew where to look, and that famous Suffolkian, Mr. Peanut, was there with his PeanutMobile. And one of the now-traditional events of the festival, the peanut butter carving contest, was just as much fun as ever.

To be sure, not everyone’s a fan of the lowly peanut. For them, the festival offered a wide array of tantalizing tastes and terrific treats. And for those whose idea of the perfect festival had more to do with musical entertainment, there was plenty to dance about, as bands filled the air with sound from the kickoff almost to the very end of the event on Sunday evening.

There were vendors selling everything from vacations to vanity plates and games ranging from the cornhole tournament to a jalapeño-eating contest.

In short, peanuts or no, Suffolk’s festival was a well-deserved celebration for the city and its residents, and it was presented in a way that should make the folks of Suffolk proud of the nonprofit group that runs Peanut Festival.

We can hardly wait for next year.