Festival a smash hit on Friday

Published 12:55 am Saturday, October 12, 2019

Jamaine Palmer hadn’t been to the Suffolk Peanut Festival in about 15 years, but he was back Friday, making new memories with his family, even if he was a little woozy after getting off of the Alien Invaders ride.

“There were moments I was kind of shaky,” said Jamaine Palmer. “I didn’t know if I was going to pull through, but I made it.”

Even after all that spinning, he was ready for more as the quartet of them — Kizzy Hopkins, 42, and his son Jamaine Palmer Jr., 10 and daughter Jazanae Palmer, 13 — prepared to go on Delusion.

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“If they get on this, I win,” Jamaine Palmer said.

As it turns out, his son didn’t want to get on the ride, but the festival was still a win for all of them.

“I like being out here at the Peanut Fest,” Jamaine Palmer said. “It brought back some good memories from my childhood.”

He said he came back for his kids — “to give them the same experience I had.” But that doesn’t mean dad doesn’t get to have fun himself.

“Oh yes. I’m still enjoying it,” Jamaine Palmer said, laughing. “It’s a lot of food, great food. I’m going to cheat on my diet, and I’m going to have a great time out here today.”

Asked if he had already cheated on that diet, he laughed even harder.

“Funnel cake,” he said, before heading over to Delusion.

Robert Foster, with his wife Audra Foster and son Abel, 3, came to the festival from Carrsville and has been coming since he was a teenager. He says he comes for the entire experience — the shows, the concerts, the Demolition Derby.

“We’re trying to do everything he wants to do,” Robert Foster said, pointing to his son after he had just supported his efforts to do a chin up. “We come every year.”

Burt Canfield, 44, was sitting next to his daughter, Liana Canfield, 7, as they prepared to get on one of the rides. His son, Isaac Canfield, 11, was also on it. But Canfield’s wife, Wei Canfield, 44, didn’t want any part of it. She said she preferred not to be dizzy.

Still, they were all enjoying themselves as a warm day turned into a cool evening and the Demolition Derby took place nearby.

For the first-time festival-goers from Chesapeake, it was fun times, though they were missing out on at least one thing.

“I’m not sure what to expect with the Peanut Festival, but we haven’t eaten any peanuts yet,” Burt Canfield said. “Corn dogs, and hamburgers, we’ve got our fill.”

He expected his children to go on more rides, including the Screaming Eagle, which he tried once, “but I almost lost my lunch,” so he wasn’t going to go on it again.

His reason for coming, though, was to watch some of the Demolition Derby.

“That’s the reason we came, to watch the Demolition Derby for a little while,” Burt Canfield said. “The kids get a little bit bored because they can only take so much smashing, but I enjoy it. If they catch on fire … it’s even more fun.”

The festival had free admission for the first two hours Friday, and there were kiddie and senior day activities, along with a plethora of entertainment, including orchestras, bands and choruses from the city’s middle and high schools, as well as the featured musical entertainment of the evening, the Deloreans.

The smell of fried food wafted throughout the festival grounds, skydivers dropped down from the sky just beyond the festival grounds, and peanuts, of course, were everywhere.

Still, the festival wasn’t an obvious choice for everyone. Not that there were any regrets about coming, however.

Wei Canfield said she had not heard of the Peanut Festival before she came Friday to support a couple of her co-workers who are volunteering.

As her husband is in the military, they plan to return Sunday on Military Appreciation Day, when tickets are $5 with a military ID, but because the Demolition Derby was only being held Friday, they also came for that.

“This is awesome,” Wei Canfield said. “We didn’t even know there was a Peanut Festival.”

Jamaine Palmer also said he would come back Sunday, but without his kids. He said he would let them stay home and get ready for school Monday.

What does he like best about the festival?

“Just the atmosphere,” he said. “Everybody’s happy. Everybody’s smiling, and the kids have something to do. It’s very rare you have something for the kids to do out here.”