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Brooklet Peanut Festival draws hundreds
William Powell, right, wipes down son Bradley, 1 month, while mom Amber holds on during Saturday's Peanut Festival in Brooklet.
    Brooklet lawns turned into parking lots. The normally sleepy town buzzed with excitement, and its usually quiet streets were crowded with people from all over the region as the 19th Annual Brooklet Peanut Festival brought fun, frolic and ... fried peanuts.
    Boiled peanuts. Roasted peanuts. And food of all kinds - funnel cakes, blooming onions, hot dogs and hamburgers, and fajitas, with the aroma of onions and spices blending with the distinct scent of green peanuts boiling i a vat.
    The peanut is the reason for celebration in this southern Bulloch County town, representing one of Brooklet's main crops. Early fall is usually the harvest time for peanuts, but in Bulloch County, much of the crop was planted late due to weather and will be ready for harvest in a few weeks.
    However, that didn't stop the town's residents from putting on the annual shindig  that has drawn visitors from all over for the past 19 years.
    Vendors selling food, crafts, live plants, clothes, jewelry, purses and a little of this and that filled a commons area in the center of town while people parked where they could, walking sometimes as far as several blocks to reach the heart of  the festival.
    Some citizens took advantage of the opportunity to make a little cash, sectioning off their lawns and charging to park. Others held yard sales and offered a variety of items for sale. Some just sat and watched the crowds go by.
    There was entertainment, too: a parade in the morning and a variety of musicians, soloists and bands taking turns throughout the day. The main entertainment area offered shade and cool fans for those who were succumbing to the humid air or wanted to sit a spell and sample some of the food offered.
    Peggy Lynn and her friend Doris Underwood, both from Ellabell, added to the effects of the fans by waving cardboard hand-held fans in front of their faces.
    The festival provided a prime opportunity to " get out of the house," Lynn said. What did she like best about the event? "I like it all," she said. I've come here for the last six years. I like boiled peanuts, and you can run into a lot of people here you don't ever get to see anywhere else."
    She did finally admit, however, that the singing is her favorite part of the day.
    But others enjoyed the endless supply of that Southern staple snack food, boiled peanuts. And kids had fun playing and taking advantage of the kiddie rides, while others quenched their thirst with frozen concoctions of all flavors, in cups with fun shapes and colors.
    Some visited armed forces recruitment booths, and others just visited.
    Genell Roberts saw the Brooklet Peanut Festival advertised on TV, and wanted to see for herself what the buzz was all about.
    "It seemed interesting," she said. "We just wanted to check it out."
    And that she did - browsing the crafts booths and sampling the food - especially fried mushrooms, she said. "Those were delicious.'
    There was more to the festival than food and music, however. The highlight of the day for may was the slow tractor race and the kiddie pedal tractor race.
    The slow tractor race offered farm machinery enthusiasts the opportunity to show off their restored antique tractors, and the object of the " race" was to see whose tractor could go the slowest without shutting off.
    The kiddie pedal tractor race was just that - a race to see which kid could reach the finish line pedaling a pint-sized tractor.
    Throughout the say, everyone seemed to enjoy themselves despite the heat and humidity.
    "This is my first time here and I'm going to be back next year," said Charlene Young. "It's all very interesting, and all of the booths - they're not all the same, like at some festivals. And the people are very friendly."

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