The Curious Case of the National Peanut Festival

Alabama NPF.
Alabama NPF. Jason Chen
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At the end of the harvest season, the city of Dothan, Alabama, comes together to throw one heck of a deep south shindig. Each November, the National Peanut Festival (NPF) commemorates and celebrates the pioneers passed that settled the city of Dothan and the plentiful harvest of peanuts that promised prosperity. Picture a lively county fair, but with a religious-like adoration for the peanut directing every detail, and you’ve got the National Peanut Festival.

Why does the NPF Exist?

Community pride infuses every exhibit at the fest.
Community pride infuses every exhibit at the fest. Amy Meredith

The very first festival in 1938 faced near freezing temperatures, and the festival goers baulked at what hand Mother Nature dealt those three days with a can-do attitude, much like the first peanut farmers did when they faced the sandy soil of the area that refused to grow traditional crops. With a drive to survive, the progressive pioneers planted the peanut, which became a cash crop and a hearty larder staple for the members of the community. The NPF has celebrated every year since 1938, without fail (except for the World War II years), to honor the peanut. (www.Dothan.org)

Why Go to the NPF?

The festival includes a parade with floats that fit the theme.
The festival includes a parade with floats that fit the theme. Sheree Lindsey

Come rain or shine, snow, sleet or hail, the NPF will go on. The festival has activities and attractions for kids, adults, and seniors. Some festival goers enjoy flitting around with a peanutty treat in hand and one of those famous corndogs from the Corndog Man in the other, hopping from one carnival style ride to another. You can stop at each arena and stall and soak up the feeling of community and resilience that led the early Dothan citizens out of hardship into easier living. You’ll spot seniors reminiscing with one another of days gone by, planting tiny seeds of wisdom into the youngest festival goers.

As a progressive explorer venturing into the peanut paradise, you won’t be put off by the weather if you dress to enjoy the outdoors from morning to night. Light layers, comfortable shoes, and a good jacket will go a long way for this time of year, when weather can range from warm to downright chilly.

This festival boasts activities that range from country and rock concerts to carnival rides, and pig races to beauty pageants. This year, there will be magic shows, entertaining talent acts, a variety of food and beverages, and countless other sights and attractions. Check out National Peanut Festival for a detailed itinerary.

When is the NPF?

The National Peanut Festival kicked off on October 22, and continues until October 29, then November 2-13. Buy your tickets early for discounted rates of $6 admission and $25 Megapass that includes gate admission and unlimited rides. Eagle Eye Outfitters is a ticket outlet for the Peanut Festival until November 3. Prices vary at the gate.

The time spent meandering through the stalls of farm animals and equipment on the festival grounds serves as a reminder that when there is a commitment to never fold under the weight of heavy circumstances, even a lowly legume, the peanut, can be a tool used to propel forward the prosperity and growth of a community.

How Do You Get to the NPF?

Take US Highway 231 South to Dothan. You can’t miss the signs pointing you to the NPF.

5622 U.S. Hwy 231 South Dothan, AL 36301.

The North Face at Eagle Eye Outfitters

This story brought to you by The North Face, available at Eagle Eye Outfitters in Dothan. Get ready for fall weather! See our store hours or shop for The North Face online.

Eagle Eye Outfitters is an independent outdoor lifestyle retailer in Dothan, Alabama. With a dedicated staff of outdoor enthusiasts and tech geeks, Eagle Eye offers the very best in outdoor apparel and equipment from The North Face, to ensure that our customers are comfortable, safe and outfitted for anything the outdoors can throw at them.

Originally written for Redpoint Sales.

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