Peanut Festival returns to Plains

Peanut Festival returns to Plains
Published: Sep. 24, 2022 at 7:24 PM CDT|Updated: Sep. 24, 2022 at 7:59 PM CDT
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PLAINS, Ga. (WALB) - A yearly tradition is back for a South Georgia town.

The 25th annual Peanut Festival in Plains was held on Saturday, Sept.r 24. The event drew in tourists to see former President Jimmy Carter and, of course, to enjoy peanuts.

A father and daughter ride a tractor in the Peanut Festival Parade.
A father and daughter ride a tractor in the Peanut Festival Parade.(WALB)

“I come for the bags and the peanuts. The best peanuts ever. The salted peanuts, you will love them,” said Shatesia Davis, a resident of Plains.

The last two years weren’t the same without the Peanut Festival for Davis. She said it’s even bigger than ever this year. The event was canceled in the last two years.

“It has really hurt because it has taken a good chunk of our income away, but this year it has just turned out to be fantastic,” Philip Kurland, the owner of Plains Trading Post, said.

He owns the country’s largest political memorabilia store.

A couple from the Sunshine State found out about the festival while traveling through the Peach State. It was their first time attending.

“It’s been a lot of fun. We are happy to come. We’ll probably come back next year. We’re probably going to get some peanut ice cream and see some of the vendors and arts and crafts,” Marianne Preisler, an event attendee, said.

Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter were special guests in the parade.
Jimmy Carter and Rosalynn Carter were special guests in the parade.(WALB)

The peanut festival also gives a chance for tourists to see Jimmy Carter’s imprints on the city. He started his presidential campaign in the old train depot in town. His wife, Rosalynn, also has an impact on the town with her butterfly trail.

Howard Park came just to see the former president. At 16 years old, Park was a volunteer for Carter’s campaign in St Louis. He comes to the festival each year.

Howard Park visited from Missouri to pay tribute to Carter. He volunteered during Carter's...
Howard Park visited from Missouri to pay tribute to Carter. He volunteered during Carter's presidential campaign(WALB)

“It’s always a great event. People from all over come here just to see him,” Park said.

Reed Elliotte came from Kentucky to see the Carters.

“We heard about the Peanut festival. I was like ‘hey I want to come!’ When I heard that Jimmy Carter was going to be in the parade, I knew we definitely had to come,” Elliotte said.

Elliotte made a shirt for Jimmy’s 97th birthday last year. He also met Jimmy years ago when he was 94. Saturday, Elliotte got to see Rosalynn and Jimmy again. He also had the chance to support local south Georgia businesses.

“There’s a good clientele up here. People love local honey,” Monte McDonald, a local business owner, said.

McDonald doesn’t sell peanuts, he sells locally produced, natural honey in Leesburg. He relies on these events for his business.

Richard Owen came from Washington D.C. representing the American Peanut Council as their President and CEO. He said supporting the peanut industry is more important than ever this year.

“This is a year with higher inflation, high fertilizer costs (and) other input costs. Having something like the Plains Peanut Festival, so people can reflect on the industry, and be proud of what they do,” Owen said.

Kim Fuller, who organized the event said they can’t put a specific number on the economic impact until next week. She did say that the turnout surprised her.