National Peanut Festival Arena

Alabama Congressman Terry Everett said he was surprised when Congress approved more than $200,000 for an open-air arena at the National Peanut Festival in Dothan.

Now the arena is drawing fire from a taxpayer watchdog group. The group, Taxpayers for Common Sense, said the arena is a prime example of pork-barrel projects that have bloated the federal budget and sent the country back into deficit spending.

But Everett said it's more worthy than similar pet projects advocated by some of his colleagues. He said the peanut industry is essential to the local economy.

About 65 percent of American peanuts are produced within 100 miles of Dothan in southeastern Alabama.