‘Great fun’ at downtown parade

Published 10:12 pm Monday, October 7, 2019

Family and friends brought their lawn chairs downtown Saturday morning and filled up the curb in front of the Godwin Courts Building. They sat on bleachers beside The Plaid Turnip and stood on the sidewalks to get a good view in the sunny morning with a welcoming fall breeze.

Hundreds of people gathered downtown for the 2019 Peanut Fest Parade on Saturday. The parade was staged in the Lakeside neighborhood, after which more than 100 different parade units — with costumes, performers and a wild assortment of music and vehicles — proceeded down West Washington Street.

The procession rumbled with engines and sirens as the parade turned the corner onto North Main Street just after 10 a.m. Suffolk Police led the way on their motorcycles, followed by parade units that delighted families up and down Main Street.

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City officials waved to citizens from their cars, and numerous classic vehicles were driven down Main Street for the event. Children danced in the procession, and some even walked on their hands as well as their feet, like the red-shirted young ladies of Triple T Sports Center.

High school marching bands filled Main Street with music to go with the clacking sound of rhythmic footsteps by the Peanut City Cloggers, the grand marshal for this year’s event.

The newly crowned Suffolk Peanut Fest Queen Cassidy Hayes, a 17-year-old Suffolk Christian Academy senior, rode on one float with the Peanut Fest Princesses. Written on their float was the bright theme for this year’s festival: “Let the Sun Shine, It’s Peanut Fest Time.”

Then there were the Khedive Shriners of Chesapeake, who once again brought crowd-pleasing favorites to the downtown parade. They came in tiny kids’ electric trucks and the Khedive Hillbillies Band bus. Their enthusiasm on display from their wild assortment of rides was infectious as they cruised down Main Street.

It was the 15th or so Peanut Fest Parade for Lisa McLaughlin, a Windsor resident and Suffolk native. McLaughlin said the parade helps kick off that “fall feeling” with family and friends.

“It’s great fun,” she said.

2019 marks the 42nd anniversary of the Suffolk Peanut Festival, the city’s premier, family-friendly event that “honors the city’s agriculture heritage and devotion to peanuts, our favorite legumes,” according to suffolkpeanutfest.com.

Peanut Fest will be held this Thursday through Sunday at the Suffolk Executive Airport. Visit suffolkpeanutfest.com for more information.