Chalked up at Peanut Fest

Published 10:19 pm Wednesday, October 10, 2018

The Suffolk Peanut Fest’s Chalk Art Contest on Saturday drew 22 artists both young and older to sketch a scene.

The contest was produced by Suffolk Parks and Recreation with help from the Suffolk Art Gallery and a sponsorship from Parr Funeral Home and Crematory. Cash prizes were up for grabs for the top three in elementary, middle and high school categories, as well as adults.

Each piece was drawn at the festival on Saturday and submitted by mid-afternoon. These pieces were judged by Peanut Fest Queen Bridget McKneely and her Peanut Princesses for first impressions, creativity, use of color and portrayal of the theme, “We are peanut born and peanut bred.”

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The winning elementary schoolers were Madison Dunn, Jake Baines and Amor Silver. Amor made a pumpkin with cat whiskers that had a peanut buddy, she said.

Mary Katherine Woodson, Angel Lambaiso and Camdyn Sutton were the winning middle schoolers, and Hannah Baines and Caroline Woodson won as the sole high school submissions.

The adult winners were Connie Johnston’s nutty take on the cover to Bruce Springsteen’s iconic “Born in the U.S.A.” cover, Haley Hamilton with her peanuts re-enacting “The Lion King” and Hamilton’s mother, Mel Hamilton, did an elephant sitting on a serving plate held up by a wide-eyed peanut. It was an obvious choice because elephants love peanuts, Mel Hamilton said.

Johnston and the Hamiltons came together as seasoned artists. Mel Hamilton and her daughter Haley frequent chalk art challenges in Virginia Beach and Williamsburg, she said, but this was Haley’s first time drawing at Peanut Fest.

The trio sweated in the intense Saturday heat while they kneeled over their boards to add details.

“You need to know how to work with chalk,” Haley said as the Rappahannock Community College sophomore touched up her peanut version of Simba. “It’s different than working with paint, crayons or colored pencils. It can break easy and you just have to be patient.”

Her mother brought her own “chalk box” filled with all they would need to finish their masterpieces.

“It’s just easier to hold all of the chalk,” Mel Hamilton said. “I can put all of them in there instead of carrying all these boxes.”

Hamilton chalked up her daughter’s win to her tenacious talent.

“She’s so talented,” she said, which is why she urged her to come out on Saturday. “It’s really fun. You get to see what you can do, and this was a harder theme to think of something to do.”