Ruritan Club’s shrimp feast kicks off 2022 Peanut Fest

Published 3:34 pm Saturday, October 8, 2022

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The 44th annual Suffolk Peanut Festival continued its celebration with the Suffolk Ruritan Club Shrimp Feast held on Friday, Oct. 7. 

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Alongside shrimp dining, locals participated in festival activities, visited with vendors and enjoyed live music by local band Island Boy. 

Sheriff Everett E.C. Harris, who is chairman of the Ruritan Club’s Shrimp Feast, said the proceeds from the event support a variety of local charities.

“The Shrimp Feast is the kick off normally for the Peanut Festival,” Harris said. 

“We used to do it on a Thursday for years, but for the last two years we’ve done it on a Friday,” he said. “This year we cut our ticket limit off to 2,000 and we’ve sold out, for the most part we’re real close to selling out. There’s been years back when it first started and some years after that where we hit numbers of 5,500, 5,700.” He said that’s when the festival would draw 300,000 or 400,000 over the four-day weekend period.

Harris noted the difficulties caused by the pandemic in the past few years might have contributed to decision to limit the number of people served.

“I don’t know why folks don’t get out as much, I guess now and with COVID and the economy. So it’s hard sometimes to get out. So we do about 2,000 tickets a year.”

Harris also noted how the Shrimp Feast continues to raise funds to help a lot of charitable organizations in the city. 

“Every penny that’s made in profit goes back out into the community probably to between $35,000 and 50,000 a year,” Harris said. “It’s goes to Meal on Wheels, Salvation Army, Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Sickle Cell Anemia… we’ll donate to Golden State Foods so they can buy the bicycles for the kids, Marine’s Toys for Tots, the Cheer Fund, we send boys and girls to Boys State and Girls State… and the list goes on.”

As Shrimp Feast chairman, Everett said a lot of planning and community cooperation helps make the festivities a success.

“The shrimp feast starts the day after the last shrimp feast. It’s just a year long to get planned,” he said. 

“We bring in a lot of volunteer organizations to help us. We got two Boy Scout troops, Lakeland girls field hockey, the Pilot Club (and) the Suffolk Business Women. All of them come in and help us and volunteer to help us, and then we’ll make donations to their organizations to help them and it’s just a good civic thing.”

Lastly, Harris had a message for the Suffolk community who attended the festival.

“First of all, I want to say thank you to all of them because every penny that we profit, what we buy to put it on, goes back into the Suffolk community. So we appreciate that because they’re helping folks. And that’s the bottom line is helping folks,” he said. “It’s a good kick-off thing for the Peanut Festival.”

He said the Suffolk Ruritan Club wants to see the Peanut Festival do well every year and they’re glad to be the kick off for it.