Every fall, the city of Dothan, Alabama, home to many Auburn students, has its National Peanut Festival. The 2017 National Peanut Festival started on November 3, and will continue until Sunday, November 12. Dothan is often referred to as “The Peanut Capital of the World” since about one-fourth of the United States’ peanut crop is produced in the area. Drive around Dothan and you will see a giant peanut dressed up on nearly every corner. However, when Peanut Festival time begins, people from all over southeast Alabama drive to celebrate and join together with family and friends for a fun-filled few days of attractions, exhibits, and boiled peanuts.
The first festival was held in 1938, and George Washington Carver was actually the guest speaker at the event. The festival was brought back in 1947, after not being held during World War II. In these early years, a pageant was held in Dothan, with the contestants being sponsored by local businesses. The first Miss Peanut, from the 1938 pageant, actually donated her dress to the festival a number of years ago. In 1958, the first Little Miss Peanut Festival Pageant was held, and continues on even now. Since then, the event as a whole has grown tremendously, and was moved to larger fairgrounds, where it is today.
Every year there is a president of the festival, as well as a Volunteer of the Year Award, given to someone who has been extremely dedicated to helping put the festival on.
Attractions at the National Peanut Festival include art exhibits with submissions from both children and adults, traditional fair rides and mazes, various farm and wild animals to feed and pet and live music, along with a huge concert on one of the main nights. However, the most looked-forward to part is the food, of course. Regulars at the festival will tell you the local food sold by groups from schools, churches and other organizations are the best. One of the most visited stands is “Mr. Corndog Man’s” corn dogs. Other fair favorites include elephant ears (fried dough with cinnamon sugar), corn on the cob and many more.
If you made it out to the festival this weekend, I am sure you understand all the excitement of it coming to town. If you have not made it down to Dothan yet, see if you have a free day with no classes, or even just morning classes, and make the trip.