6,000 sign petition for National Peanut Festival events to happen
DOTHAN, Ala. (WTVY) -
Stephen Evans started the reverse the National Peanut Festival cancellation petition with hopes that the board would reconsider having the pageant, art competitions, and agriculture events.
With more than 6000 online signatures, it’s clear that he’s not the only that thinks the National Peanut Festival can go on without the rides.
“I believe just a little bit of leadership would have gone a long way,” says Evan.
While many festivals have decided to cancel this year, some like the Kentucky State Fair has designed participant only plans so competitions can go on.
Evans believes the National Peanut Festival board could have used that plan as guidance.
“So, I think a little effort maybe a google search or two they could have found a way to do this safely,” says Evans.
While the rides are a huge part of the festival, he’s not concerned about saving the midway.
He’s worried about the elements that he calls the fabric of the community like honoring peanut farmers and celebrating the harvest.
“This is another slight to the forgotten worker and the forgotten farmer. The farmers built Dothan. If it wasn’t for the peanut, we wouldn’t have what we have,” says Evans.
The weeklong festival is not just for farmers. It’s vital fundraising time for local nonprofits, bands, churches, and first responders and the chance for girls of all ages to represent their hometowns.
“I’ve known that every community charity gets their funding from the fair, every little girl wakes up not wanting to be Miss America. They want to be Miss Peanut and everyone in rural Georgia and rural Florida wants to come back and get their blue ribbons. I mean it’s the 4h capital of the world,” says Evan.
6,000 people throughout the Wiregrass agree.
Along with a signature, one petition supporter says “Alabama needs this event on many levels. Income, interaction fun with family and friends, challenges for the young, and memories for all.”
Another says “I am signing because my family and I are tired of having all fun stripped from us just because of the virus.
Evans believes each signature is one step closer to changing the decision.
“It’s never too late to fix something that’s broken. It’s never too late to change your mind,” says Evan.
If the decision is not reversed, Evans hopes the community will bind together to support nonprofits in the absence of the week of fundraising and he’s offering $1000 towards starting another pageant.
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