• 72°

Vote for peanuts at SPARC Shoppe

Visitors can vote for their favorite nutty design in a contest that’s being held by the SPARC Shoppe at OnePast7, located at 100 N. Main St.

The Suffolk Iconic Peanut Contest features wild creations from about 15 local artists and members of the community. These designs include, but are by no means limited to, squirrels, farm scenes, fishing, railroad crossings and other aspects people love about Suffolk’s community and culture, according to the press release.

These peanut designs are not intended to replicate the famous Mr. Peanut mascot of Planters Peanuts, the press release states. They were simply created to celebrate the city’s rich connection to the legume.

Rick Byrd, marketing and events manager for the SPARC Shoppe and the contest facilitator, wrote in an email Thursday that he was inspired to hold this contest by Norfolk’s mermaid sculptures, as well as Smithfield’s Porcine Parade of painted pig sculptures.

He organized this relatively smaller-scale project to see how artists would represent Suffolk’s culture and peanut connection, and also to introduce more people OnePast7 and the SPARC Shoppe, “one of Suffolk’s best kept secrets,” he wrote.

Each contest submission was made using a basic kit that included a wooden base, a dowel rod, and a formed peanut so that entries could be kept within a scalable format, Byrd wrote. The kits were made available for $20 donations.

Visitors can come to the SPARC Shoppe during business hours to cast their votes. Each vote will cost a 25-cent donation, and “there are no limits to the number of votes one may cast,” Byrd wrote. The money raised through this contest will be used to help fund activities and events sponsored by OnePast7 and the SPARC Shoppe.

The winning entry will receive a ribbon and a $100 prize, and second and third place winners will receive ribbons, as well.

The deadline for voting is March 21, and the winner will be announced at an open house that will be held from 2 to 5 p.m. March 22 at the SPARC Shoppe, 100 N. Main St. The open house is free and open to the public.

“It is a great way to meet artists, vote for a favorite peanut design, enjoy refreshments, participate in a make-and-take activity, and shop for locally made items,” the press release states.

The SPARC Shoppe at OnePast7, 100 N. Main St., is part of the SPARC Initiative, which stands for Suffolk’s Premier Art, Retail and Cultural Initiative. The Shoppe is open from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday.

Email info@sparcva.com for more information, or visit sparcva.com, the “SPARC Shoppe at OnePast7” Facebook page and the Shoppe’s Instagram account.