Peanuts, pumpkins and princesses
Published 11:49 pm Saturday, October 10, 2015
Thousands took advantage of cool weather and unproductive clouds for most of the day to visit the Peanut Festival on Saturday.
The sights and sounds pervaded the entire site at the Suffolk Executive Airport. The lights on the midway lit the path for the crowd of family and teens taking in the fun. Country music’s sound and vibrating bass streamed from the stage thanks to TailGate Down and the Nitty Gritty Dirt Band. The scent of exploding fireworks mixed with the smells of food from the midway. Visitors indulged in candy apples, fried Oreos, footlong corndogs, cheese fries, gyros, pizza and more.
Kids filled the Rad Hatter tent to craft their own headpieces. Children of all ages played Knockerball on a field near the stage, bumping into each other while encased in large inflatable globes. The Silent Disco entertained both dancers and observers, with people dancing to the beat of their own drum and others watching without being able to hear the music.
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Plenty of people came out of tradition, such as Stacy Bowen, who got her entertainment for the night watching her husband play Knockerball.
“We come every year,” Bowen said. Her favorite fair food is funnel cake, she said, but she was also looking forward to trying the fried Oreos.
“I heard you can’t eat them all,” she said.
Felicia Mead came to the fair with her family, whom she watched as they spun on the merry-go-round. The youngest child had never been, and the older one was looking forward to returning, she said.
“It’s for the experience and to have fun,” she said.
The Peanut Festival Queen, Stasha Waterfield, and her court participated in the pumpkin-carving contest on Saturday. The friendly competition was a replacement for the traditional peanut butter sculpting contest, since the section of the Producers Peanuts factory that makes the special blend for the contest had a fire and was unable to provide it this year.
The contestants wore serious looks as they diligently scooped, scraped and carved their pumpkins. City Manager Patrick Roberts, festival chairman Jim Bryant and a few walk-up contestants also participated.
Emily VanDorn, who represented Suffolk Christian Academy on the queen’s court, took the blue ribbon with her pumpkin, which was decorated on both sides. She carved a traditional face on one side and the phrase “Family Fun” – part of the festival theme this year – on the other side.
“My knife kept bending,” VanDorn said, explaining how difficult it was to carve her pumpkin.
The festival continues Sunday – traditionally the biggest day for attendance, festival officials say – with Island Boy performing at 2 p.m., BlackHawk at 3:30 p.m. and The Outlaws at 5:15 p.m. A gospel showcase on the Harvest Family Stage will feature several local groups at 3 p.m. The full festival is open from 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. and is kicked off by the Suffolk Swamp Roar Motorcycle Rally.
See more photos from the festival on the Suffolk News-Herald’s Facebook page.