There are 45 peanut statues in Dothan, one in Midland City, and one in Slocomb. They range anywhere between $2500 to $3000 dollars, but they bring a lot of traffic to sponsoring businesses.
“Everyday I come by and we have people out here looking at our peanuts, which is part of the reason. We wanted people to come by to see who we are and what we do,” said Margaret Futch, Chief Executive Officer of HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center in Dothan.
HealthSouth recently unveiled theirs in February: a patient and his doctor, cheering him on. Every peanut is part of a national public art exhibit, that started in Chicago.
“It's like in Illinois, in Chicago, the Cows on Parade, and Cincinnati the Flying Pigs and Louisville, Kentucky, it’s the Thoroughbreds on Parade,” explained Jill Williams, Executive Director of The Downtown Group. “Those are really important public art projects that businesses and artists have gotten together to showcase local talents throughout the cities.”
However, they attract more than tourists. They attract the mischievous kind, as well. Some people abducted the “Elvis Nut” so many times that they had to put it inside the Dothan Area Convention and Visitors Bureau to finally keep it in one place.
“People love to steal them,” laughed Williams. “The police department has found them in fields; they found them in somebody's home.”
Yet, the peanut gallery is also a school project. Some parents thought it created the perfect marriage of education and entertainment.
“In the past, my son, when he was at Carver Magnet School, it was a scavenger hunt, but as they were doing the project they were also learning about all those different businesses that had taken a part in the peanut project,” said Will Craig, Marketing Director at HealthSouth Rehabilitation Center.
Only three locations outside of Dothan have peanut statues: Midland City, Slocomb, and Fort Rucker.
It’s a project that makes Alabama a bit nuttier. If you want your business to sponsor a peanut, contact Jill Williams at 334-793-3097.