“Join us October 10-13, at Suffolk Peanut Fest, and celebrate our nutty heritage, Suffolk’s community pride and our dedication to family fun and togetherness.” ~ Freddie Gardner, 2019 Suffolk Peanut Fest Chairman
Homegrown community pride, the aroma of freshly tilled earth, picking peanuts with an ol’ fashioned stationary picker and watching his daddy sewing up bags of peanuts straight from the picker . . . Freddie Gardner’s memories are alive with details from the farms of yesteryear. And the farms of today.
After 19+ years volunteering for the Festival, Freddie is serving as the 2019 Suffolk Peanut Fest Chairman and has selected the theme: “We are Peanut Born and Peanut Bred.” Why, you ask? Because Freddie’s family has deep roots in Suffolk’s farming community; in fact his Granddaddy’s farm was situated off of Holland Road and his Uncle farmed spring to fall on Collins Road, growing corn and peanuts, today the crops are joined by rows of soybeans and wheat. He often reminisces about riding on a tractor as a kid with his granddaddy and walking among large stacks of peanuts. Despite having retired from Lipton, where he worked for 29 years as a Packaging Mechanic, Freddie stays busy farming part-time for RCR Farms and overseeing the daily operations of the Suffolk Shrine Club. Additionally, Freddie is a member of McAlister #185 Masonic Lodge, Khedive Shriners, Khedive Color Guard (Past Captain), Suffolk Shrine Club (Past President), Franklin Shrine Club, and Holland Ruritan Club. As the folks stroll into the festival grounds, Freddie enjoys meeting new friends, reconnecting with longtime acquaintances and sharing the fun with his family. The expansive entertainment schedule is near and dear to his heart as well. You’ll certainly find Freddie near the Main Stage or at least near the live music if he’s not jumping in to find a solution to an unexpected problem somewhere along the festival site.
Freddie’s foray into Suffolk Peanut Fest began when his friend who worked with the Goober Gang invited him and his wife, Mitzi, to volunteer. Over the years, Freddie’s duties shifted from overseeing the school kids handing out complimentary peanuts to working on the electrical committee alongside his good friend, Wayne Boyce. A team player, Freddie is the first to volunteer to lend a hand to creatively and efficiently accomplish Festival tasks.
Always on the go, Freddie has been married to his lovely wife Mitzi for 43 years and together they have two adult children, Shana and Nathan. They are proud grandparents to three grandchildren, Garrett, Grace and Emma.
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