Go nuts: Alabama town home to the National Peanut Festival

Go nuts: Alabama town home to the National Peanut Festival

Kaylee Kemp | Contributing Writer 

Dothan, Alabama isn’t known for many things. But one thing is for sure: they take their peanuts seriously.  

Known as the "Peanut Capital of the World," Dothan throws a nutty fair every November. The Peanut Festival is held every year to celebrate Dothan's plentiful peanut crop.

The festival is thrown in honor of farmers who have successful crops at the end of the harvest season. These harvesters then gather with the town to rejoice in their success.

“You wait for this all year,” said Ashleigh Kirkpatrick, a junior majoring in marketing. 

The peanut festival tradition allows Dothan to show off their small-town quirkiness that never fails to keep Dothan families coming back every year. 

“I’ve been going my entire life,” said Kirkpatrick, “My mom's originally from there.”

Dothan residents never fail to miss this exciting time of the year, as this is a well-know tradition for Dothan and its surrounding towns, a region commonly known as "The Wiregrass." 

“Most of the residents of Dothan along with the surrounding towns attend the festival,” said Caroline Dozier, a sophomore majoring in marine science and biology.

The festival is an annual event that tops off the excitement of Dothan’s fair. The festival features rides, food stands and nightly concerts that include a well-known singer every year. This past weekend, Corey Smith took to the stage. There's also a peanut parade. 

“They have the big cement trucks that they drive in the streets, and my grandma, even though I’m 20 years old, she makes me get a grocery bag and run into the street and pick all the peanuts up,” said Kirkpatrick, “It's so embarrassing.”

Dothan prides itself on their peanut production and, every year, the peanut festival is a highly-attended town event that never fails to bring people from all over to experience Dothan’s small-town charm.

“People come from Florida and Georgia, and they come out of the boonies for this,” Kirkpatrick said. 

Experiencing Dothan lifestyle first-hand, Kirkpatrick’s uncle is a farmer who participates in the festival as well.  

“Everyone knows a farmer and that’s why you go, to celebrate their good season,” said Kirkpatrick.

Of course, the peanut festival has a variety of peanuts and peanut products for people to sample.

“They have Cajun peanuts and all different types of peanuts there,” Kirkpatrick said. “Literally everyone is just throwing peanuts.”

Not only does the festival help farmers, but also their success helps Dothan’s economy. With many visitors attending the festival from out of town, the peanuts of Dothan could be considered a staple for its economy. 

“Personally I believe the peanut festival stimulates the economy of Dothan because it brings in several visitors,” Dozier said.

While some festival-goers come for the rides or the peanuts, many enjoy the fair food that is offered. 

“My favorite part of the festival would have to be the food, specifically the Corn Dog Man," Dozier said  "People line up for hours just to get a corn dog. It’s insane.

Residents look forward to this beloved tradition every year and the excitement brings good spirits to the community. 

“I used to get so excited for the festival," Kirkpatick said. "I don’t know why, it’s just so fun."

Another Dothan native, Victoria Herring, has been a fan of the festival her whole life. Herring, a junior majoring in human development and family studies, is also a fan of the food, and the Corn Dog Man. 

"My favorite part of the Peanut Festival is the food," Herring said. "I always get a corn dog from the Corn Dog Man and an elephant ear because the Peanut Festival is the only time of year you can get them."

The festival continues through this Sunday in Dothan. Event and ticket info can be found at www.nationalpeanutfestival.com. 

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