For three decades, the quiet city of Brooklet has fired up each fall with a celebration of the town’s agricultural history. Saturday, Sept. 21, will mark the 30th Annual Brooklet Peanut Festival, drawing visitors from all across the region.
The day-long celebration features a crop almost everyone loves and that has been a major part of Bulloch County’s farm life for decades. Peanuts can be found in every corner of the festival grounds in downtown Brooklet, where people eat them fried, roasted, in candies and mainly, boiled in the shell with a salty brine.
The festival centers around the peanut, which is actually a legume and not a true nut. However, the event offers something for everyone in that there are rows of food and craft booths, informational displays, a parade, all day entertainment and children’s attractions.
The day begins with a lively parade, televised by Savannah television station WTOC, through downtown Brooklet. Floats, dignitaries, classic cars and antique tractors join area school bands to kick off the day’s activities. The parade steps off at 10 a.m. and the festival grounds open at the same time, according to the event website www.brookletpeanutfestival.com.
The Brooklet Community Development Association, comprised mainly of volunteer members, hosts the festival each year. It was once held in August but due to the extreme heat and humidity in South Georgia, was moved to September.
One of the unique features of the festival is the slow tractor race. Enthusiasts with restored antique tractors compete to see who can go the slowest without “choking” (stalling).
The event is held at noon on Warnock Street, with a “pedal tractor” race for kids on small tractor replicas taking place as well. That race is divided into age groups.
This year some unusual vendors have signed up to hawk their wares, said Joanne Nesmith, one of the event organizers.
“A new vendor is a man who has silver and copper crocheted gemstone jewelry,” she said. “There will be a lady with elderberry products; jams, jellies, soaps and massage oils.”
Visitors can check out a leatherworker, a vendor with wooden benches, swings and chairs, and someone with soy-based candles and wax melts, she said. Another vendor will offer homemade dog treats, and a different pet-oriented booth will have handmade dog collars and leashes, she said.
There will be the seasonal booths with holiday décor, and a man who makes custom fishing lures, she said.
Food vendors will tantalize visitors with the aromas of funnel cakes, pork skins, hamburgers, barbecue and, of course, peanuts.
The traditional lemonade and iced drinks are expected to be available as well.
A free shuttle service from parking areas to the festival site will be available, according to the site.
All through the day, free entertainment will keep the atmosphere lively. A street dance starts at 7 p.m. and ends at 10:30 p.m., when the annual event closes for the year.
The day’s performances include several groups and bands (Southeast Bulloch High School, Third Infantry Division Army, Heartland Express Cloggers, State Prison Cloggers, and Brotherhood Community Male Chorus).
Several others will perform as well, including Elvis impersonator Glen Walden, the One Voice Trio, Danny Carter, Joel Baker, Plad Dot School of Rock and Roll, and Christopher McCollum.
Brickhouse Live will perform during the day and will be featured during the street dance as well, according to the website.
Herald reporter Holli Deal Saxon may be reached at 912-489-9414.