Tomorrow, Friday, November 2 is a day that people all throughout the Wiregrass have anticipated for several months. What is so special about Friday, November 2? It is the start of the 2018 National Peanut Festival! If you are not familiar with the excitement associated with the NPF, it is a good thing that you are reading this blog. Dothan, Al. is the Peanut Capital of the World, and therefore hosts the National Peanut Festival (NPF) once a year. The National Peanut Festival, or better known to most of us as “the fair”, is a staple event. Truly, it is an event that holds a special place in many people’s hearts.
Many memories are made, many laughs are shared, and many corndogs are devoured at the National Peanut Festival each year. It is incredibly hard to believe that the fair is here again, but I can taste the Fried Oreos and Funnel Cakes now – how about you? To capture the magic, memories, and must-have food items at the NPF, I decided to interview a few of our staff members. I thoroughly enjoyed watching their faces light up as they described their favorite moments from the Peanut Festival in years past. Here is a look into some of their NPF favorites:
Shelli Wilcox, Kid’s and Women’s Department
Shelli is a huge lover of the National Peanut Festival. As former Little Miss Headland, Shelli had the opportunity to compete in the National Peanut Festival Pageant when she was younger. “It was a very special experience”, Shelli said, “I made many friendships that have lasted throughout the years with girls from all over the Wiregrass.” Now, Shelli is apart of the Little Miss Committee. This committee helps with the peanut pageant and events after the pageant. Shelli has thoroughly enjoyed being a part of this committee because now she is able to spend time with and invest in all of the contestants. She will forever be a part of the peanut family. Shelli’s favorite thing to do at the NPF is watching the Pig and Calf Scramble with her family. Her must-have foods at the fair are a ribeye sandwich, a corndog from the Corndog Man, and an elephant ear.
Justin Motley, Operations Team
One of my favorite parts of doing these interviews has been hearing about everyone’s favorite foods. It has made me more and more excited (and hungry) for this year’s fair! Justin’s favorite foods to indulge in are as follows: a turkey leg, a caramel apple, a prime rib sandwich from the D.F.D. booth, and a corndog from the Corndog Man. Justin loves taking life to the NPF with his twins, Jaxson and Jayleigh, and his wife, Jessica. One of his favorite memories was watching his kids’ faces light up after watching a dog show that was held at the NPF a few years ago.
Sierra Metcalf, Kid’s and Women’s Department
Many families have certain traditions when it comes to the National Peanut Festival. Sierra’s family tradition consists of heading to the fair on the first Sunday afternoon that it’s here after church. During this time, Sierra and her sister ride all of the rides along the midway. Some of her favorite memories include: meeting Shane Owens last year, hanging out with sweet Silas (as pictured above) on special citizens day, and riding all of the rides with her sister and friends. Sierra is looking forward to hearing Granger Smith in concert this year while chowing down on a chicken finger basket from the Slocomb Band booth. She will also be stopping to grab a caramel apple and bag of kettle corn before hitting the road.
Amanda Hunt, Website Team
One of Amanda’s favorite things about the fair is the food! She highly recommends the steak sandwich from the Fire Station booth, roasted corn, chicken in a waffle cone, and fried Oreos. Amanda also loves riding all of the attractions along the midway with her sweet nephew, Josiah. “I love seeing Josiah get so excited about the rides and food when we step onto the fairgrounds”, Amanda said. One of her favorite memories would be watching her younger sister, Addie, compete in the NPF cheer competition. Every year after the cheer competition (which is typically held on the first Saturday of each month), Amanda and her family would spend the afternoon riding the attractions and eating all of the fair food that they could handle.
Tyler Mathis, Warehouse Team
Tyler has fond memories of going to the fair with his dad as a child. His dad was on the music committee at the NPF; therefore, Tyler got to meet all of the acts that performed. He recalls meeting Blake Shelton when he came several years ago. Tyler also enjoys walking around with his family and his wife, Alaina. His must-have food items include pig wings, a frozen sweet tea, and a cinnamon roll from the midway.
Sara Trowbridge, Buyer’s Assistance
Sara loves the fair because she knows that fair time equals cooler weather! It never fails that almost every year before the Peanut Festival we have a cold snap. Sara loves wearing either her Barbour Jacket or Thermoball Jacket by The North Face as she is strolling through the midway. She is not so much a fan of the rides anymore but did enjoy the Himalaya when she was younger. Sara is greatly looking forward to taking on the fair with her nephew, Sawyer, this year. Her must-have food items from the NPF are fried Oreos and corndogs from the Corndog Man.
Jessica Lewis, Shoe Department
The general consensus from everyone that I have talked to at EEO is that the food is their favorite part of the NPF. Jessica can’t leave the fair without a loaded baked potato and elephant ear from the Boy Scout booth. She also LOVES riding the Himalaya and visiting the petting zoo. This year, she is looking forward to riding all of the attractions with her niece, Meredith, who is finally old enough to enjoy the excitement of the National Peanut Festival. Jessica also loves the Peanut Parade that is held on the last Saturday of the festival. She loves watching everyone scramble for peanuts after the peanut truck has come by. Then she enjoys eating peanuts and watching the rest of the parade.
Jacob McFadden, Men’s Department
When I asked Jacob what food he loved at the NPF, his eyes immediately lit up. He said, “you might as well ask me what food I don’t like – that list would be much shorter”. Among his favorite foods are funnel cakes, kettle corn, and corndogs. Jacob also loves the sense of community that the NPF provides. He enjoys seeing everyone from the tri-state area come together for this event. Lastly, Jacob said that his favorite memories have been spending time with his wife, Taylor, at the fair.
Christina Ross, Assistant Store Manager
Like everyone else, Christina said one of her favorite parts of the fair is “eating all of the food that she can handle”. She enjoys going with friends and spending time with them while walking around. Christina also pointed out that she loves riding the Himalaya. She said, “I love riding this and laughing so hard at who you are crushing or who’s crushing you!”
Jacob Strowd, Shoe Department
After asking Jacob what he loved about the fair, he quickly answered with this: “THE FOOD”. Jacob’s favorite fair foods include a corndog from the Corndog Man and roasted corn. His fondest memories of the fair come from time spent with his family and some of his friends from Troy. Jacob said he has not been to the fair in a few years, but he is looking forward to going this year with his family!
We hope that you enjoyed a look into a few of our staff members favorite NPF memories. This year’s fair is going to be so much fun. Plus, we are forecasted to have some cooler temperatures rolling in this weekend! Perfect fair weather, right? Take a look at just a few of our top picks of what to wear to the fair…
A Barbour Jacket
You certainly can never go wrong with a Polar Quilt Jacket by Barbour. This jacket is classy, cute, and sure to keep you warm when you are riding the super Himalaya! We have these jackets for men and women.
In case you haven’t heard, Sherpa Pullovers are all the rage right now. Almost every outerwear brand that we carry offers some style that is a Sherp, or resembles one. Featured below is a Sherpa by the Southern Shirt Company. You may be familiar with this look by brands like True Grit and Dylan. We carry those Sherpa pullovers in many different colors as well.
The North Face Thermoball Jacket is HUGE this season. The Thermoball Jacket is lightweight, and thin – yet it offers amazing warmth. These jackets are truly phenomenal, and perfect to have for the fair. We have styles to fit the whole family!
Are you even ready for the fair unless you have a pair of Sperry boots? Duck boots are a must-have to wear to the NPF. Sometimes it is a little muddy at the fairgrounds, so it is always helpful to wear these boots. They wash off dirt so easily. They are also comfortable and warm – just what your feet will need after walking around for a long period of time.
The dates of the 2018 National Peanut Festival are Friday, November 2 to Sunday, November 11. The NPF is always held at the fairgrounds, located on Highway 231 South. There are many events and armband deals going on throughout the week. You can find them by clicking here. Also, check out our blog from last year on The Top Five Foods To Indulge in at the NPF. We are so excited for this year’s National Peanut Festival! Make sure that you tag us in all of your pictures. We can’t wait to see how you are #takinglifetotheNPF this year.