Plains plays host to 20th annual Peanut Fest

Published 1:30 pm Monday, October 3, 2016


PLAINS — As the crowds gathered on Main Street of Plains a week ago, the excitement of the 20th annual Peanut Festival filled the air.
During the early hours of the festival many gathered for the road races. Then others were preparing for the parade, as children skipped along the sidewalk with colorful iced drinks, begging their parents to ride ponies, while others were lining up to their favorite vendors. The scent of funnel cakes, hot-dogs, Philly Cheese steaks, ‘gator on a stick, and chicken on a stick, fried skins, and Polish sausage filled the atmosphere.
Inside the balcony of the Plains Inn, the voice of Grand Master of the Parade, Bobby Moss, echoed over the crowd, as he announced the activities of the day. Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter waved excitedly to each participant. Members of the parade consisted of local and national contributors and sponsors.
Gospel music made its way through the corridors of Maxine Reese Park, as excited children’s voices drifted through the streets as they scurried about from parent to parent begging to play on various amusement park rides.
Near one ride, a brother and sister were found beside the rides sharing a huge plate of funnel cake. Standing near them were their parents, Elaina and Robert Lockhart. They were asked how they were enjoying the festival. The Lockharts went on to brag on the festival and how their children Pepper and Sunshine were enjoying the rides, food, fun and entertainment.
Mike Messer, a vendor from Andersonville, was found weaving a cane chair, while surrounded by metal-made crafts and jewelry. He said he has been involved in the festival for several years and enjoys participating in the venue. Another vendor, owner of McDonald’s Farm, Monte McDonald of Leesburg, sat in his booth promoting various products, surrounded by local-made honey from his farm. As many sampled his honey there were others who were looking over the crafts of Homer Hurst. Among the crafts were lathe-turned pens, vases, yo-yo’s, tops, hollow forms, bowls and kaleidoscopes.

A brother and sister enjoy a plate of funnel cakes during the festival.

A brother and sister enjoy a plate of funnel cakes during the festival.

A book signing was held at Billy Carter’s Service Station, where the former president signed his books, while Rosalynn Carter signed hers inside the Plains Inn and Antiques Mall.
Many settled in for the day by lining Main Street with chairs, while others enjoyed rides on the SAM Short Line Train.
The festival was filled with entertaining events all day inside Maxine Reese Park, while men, women and children made their way through vendors of crafts, clothing, jewelry etc.
When all the crowds settled down in the evening, a festival dance was held on Main Street, with entertainment from “Visions featuring Jimmy Gaddy.”
Sunday events consisted of former President Carter teaching Sunday school at Maranatha Baptist Church.
Sponsors of this year’s peanut festival include American Blanching, American Peanut Shellers Association, Georgia Federal-State Inspection, Georgia Peanut Commission, Golden Peanut & Tree Nuts, The J. M. Smucker Co., Kraft – Heinz Planters, Mars Chocolate NA, National Peanut Board, National Peanut Buying Points Association, Premium Peanut and The Peanut Institute. The Plains Better Hometown Program coordinates the festival annually.