November 5, 2021

Dothan’s National Peanut Festival celebrates 77 years

2.8 min read

(National Peanut Festival/Facebook)

Beauty queens, a parade, blue-ribbon cooking contests, livestock shows, carnival rides, musical performances—and of course, goobers—are all part of the attraction at the 77th National Peanut Festival in Dothan, from Friday, November 5–Sunday, November 14.

The 10-day family-friendly event celebrates farmers and the peanut harvest. Most of the nation’s groundnuts are grown within 100 miles of Dothan. 

Up to 200,000 have attended prior festivals, which have been held on the National Peanut Festival Fairgrounds off U.S. 231 South since 1999.

The National Peanut Festival is one of the state’s larger attractions. The original, held in 1938, featured guest speaker George Washington Carver, a Tuskegee Institute scientist whose development of more than 300 peanut products in the early 20th century helped create an economic lifeline for area farmers. A statue of Carver stands today at the fairgrounds.

After a brief hiatus during World War II, the festival returned in 1947. It’s been held every year since—first at the Houston County Farm Center and later on its current site—with the exception of 2020.

(National Peanut Festival/Facebook)

Gates this year open at 4 p.m. on Fridays, 10 a.m. on Saturdays, 1 p.m. on Sundays, 4:30 p.m. Monday, Tuesday, and Wednesday, and 3 p.m. on Thursday. Rides shut down around midnight on Fridays and Saturdays, and 11 p.m. the other nights.

General admission tickets, available at the gate, are $8. A $50 “Duration Pass” is good for all 10 days. Children under age 5 get in for free. Strollers and wheelchairs are available for rent.

Ride tickets are $1.50 each, $11 for 15, $25 for 22, and $55 for 55 tickets. Be aware that each ride requires multiple tickets. Armbands for unlimited rides can be purchased at the gate (except Friday, November 12); prices range from $25-$40, depending on the day and time.

Discounts on admission and ride tickets are available on Wednesday, November 10, for anyone who brings at least three cans of food or a jar of peanut butter for the Dream Big Food Drive, which benefits the Wiregrass Food Bank. 

The festival will feature Gutsy the Flying Fox, the Swifty Swine Racing Pigs, a calf scramble, the transforming car Megamorph, the Torres Circus, Chainsaw Art by Ackmonster, the Sea Lion splash show, the Ready Set Grow agricultural magic show, a demolition derby, and Lew-E’s Comedy Circus.

(National Peanut Festival/Facebook)

Musical acts include Az-Izz, Lucky Town, Gina Gailey, Blane Rudd, and Trotline on the NPF food court stage. Randy Houser, Gabby Barrett, and Parmalee will perform in the AllMetal Amphitheater. Admission to the amphitheater for festivalgoers is $20 for reserve seat benches nearest to the stage, $10 for general admission folding chair seating, and free for the area behind that.

Miss National Peanut 2021 is Lydia Paulson of Wicksburg. Little Miss Peanut 2021 is Taitym Wilson of Jackson County. Both were crowned last month.

Festival organizers request, but cannot force under state law, festivalgoers to be vaccinated, wear masks indoors and in crowds, and utilize the hand sanitizer stations around the fairgrounds. COVID-19 vaccines will be available, mostly during late afternoons and evenings, at the first-aid station inside the midway entrance.

Find a complete schedule, including band performances and festival contests, here

And if you like to plan ahead, next year’s National Peanut Festival is scheduled for November 4-13.

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