Mark your calendar

Published 7:00 pm Tuesday, September 6, 2011

Suffolk has a lot of fun on tap this fall

The creators of the slogan, “It’s a good time to be in Suffolk,” might have been thinking of fall. Not only do Suffolkians finally get a break from summer heat and a chance to see some colorful foliage, the season also brings some of the biggest events of the year.

Whether you’re a doggie devotee, a legume lover or a house hunter, Suffolk has you covered this fall.

4th Annual Mutt Strut Dog Walk & Festival

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Sept. 18, 1-5 p.m.

Sleepy Hole Park, 4700 Sleepy Hole Road

Started in 2008 to raise money for stray animals under their care, the Suffolk Humane Society’s Mutt Strut includes a pledge walk, silent auction, pet and people friendly vendors, food, canine demonstrations, animal rescue organizations and more.

“The walk allows us to continue the programs we have in place, expand our programs and maybe add some new ones,” said Kay Hurley, director of community outreach for the society.

Besides promoting animal adoption and caring for stray animals, the society also sponsors free spay and neuter clinics, reading programs for children and has hopes to do more with schools and humane education programs.

“We believe what we are doing is not just about animals but promoting compassion,” Hurley said. “We’re helping to make our community a better place to live and have a family.”

Exciting new features of this year’s event include demonstrations by the Flying Jacks, a showcase of high-flying stunts by a team of Jack Russell terriers, and the Virginia Fox Trotters, a program featuring a group of handlers and their dogs performing dance routines.

Last year, more than 4,500 attended the event and more than $55,000 was raised for the society’s mission.

For more information, call 538-3030 or visit

34th Annual Peanut Festival

Oct. 6-9

Suffolk Executive Airport,

1200 Gene bolton drive

Celebrate Suffolk’s agricultural heritage and devotion to peanuts, the legumes that put the city on the map, at the Peanut Festival.

“It’s the best festival in the state,” said Fleet Garnett, who co-chairs the Peanut Festival along with Randy Byrum. “It goes back to our heritage with peanuts. It’s the only festival of its kind around here.”

A Peanut Fest Parade in downtown Suffolk at 10 a.m. on Oct. 1 gets folks in the spirit, and the festival officially starts the following Thursday at Suffolk Executive Airport with the Ruritan Shrimp Feast, featuring all-you-can-eat-shrimp, barbecue, sides and more for $30.

Can’t-miss highlights include the Demolition Derby, set for 6 p.m. on Friday, Oct. 7; the Truck and Tractor Pull, set for 3 p.m. on Saturday, Oct. 8; and the fireworks, set for 8 p.m. that same night.

Three stages will offer a slate of entertainers, including performances by Foghat and the Charlie Daniels Band.

And don’t forget about the quirky contests that make the Peanut Fest special, like the Chalk Art Competition, set for 10 a.m. to 2 p.m., and the Peanut Butter Sculpture contest, set for 2 p.m., both on Saturday, Oct. 8.

“The Peanut Butter Sculpture Contest is the only one of its kind,” Garnett said. “I can’t imagine why people wouldn’t come out to this festival.”

Rides, jalapeno-eating contests, a motorcycle rally, karaoke contests, cornhole tournaments, a brand-new barbecue cook-off, a kickball tournament, kid-friendly entertainment and more round out the four-day event.

Get the full entertainment schedule at

Fall 2011 Homearama

Oct. 15-30

The Riverfront at Harbour View, 6101 Walkers Ferry Lane

The Tidewater Builders Association’s annual Homearama event returns to Suffolk at The Riverfront at Harbour View. The popular showcase will feature nine homes from area builders.

“The homes are chock full of incredible ideas,” said Homearama Chairman Stephen Quick of Stephen Alexander Homes. “And these are things that can be done at anyone’s house.”

Homearama displays fully furnished and fully landscaped custom showcase homes that demonstrate the latest in home construction, design, furnishings and technological innovations. This is the 30th year the event has been staged by Tidewater Builders Association in South Hampton Roads.

The event offers consumers a chance to see the latest innovations in new home designs and products for the home, which organizers say will boost the local economy.

Homearama will draw visitors from all over South Hampton Roads and the Peninsula to experience what living in Suffolk can be all about.

“People get a chance to see how nice Suffolk is,” said Quick. “They can see they can get that rural lifestyle and that sophisticated house. And Suffolk and the Riverfront are just beautiful.”

A unique feature of every Homearama is the charity house, which this year was built to benefit the TBA Scholarship Foundation. This year’s scholarship recipient is Justin Kauflin, a jazz pianist who has played at the Kennedy Center and released his own CD.

Homearama also offers special events, including Mom’s Morning Out and a special food event, and all the items on display in the homes are available for purchase at discounted prices.

General admission is $10 for a one-day pass and $17 for a two-day pass. Active duty and retired military guests and seniors get a $1 discount Mondays-Thursdays. Children 12 and under and guests in wheelchairs are free.

Check out some of the floor plans of featured houses and get more information at