"Party in the Back"
Essay by Abigail Conrod, 2021 Suffolk Peanut Fest Queen
“Business in the front, party in the back” are eight words I still hear today. They are normally used to describe the mullet hairstyle that I assume every person’s dad had in the eighties. In a time of U2’s Joshua Tree and Tim Richmond winning the Indianapolis 500 Rookie of the Year, that seemed to be the go-to hair style. Even in the city of Suffolk, the eighties was a time of surprising change, excitement, and growth.
For Suffolk in that same time period, it not only meant mullets, but also Hope Spivey competing in the 1988 Olympics, a photo of mayor Andy Damiani
in the Suffolk News-Herald eating peanut pie to promote the 1985 Peanut Fest, and the term “Surprising Suffolk” being coined for the very first time. Meanwhile, the four original Suffolk high schools, Suffolk High, Forest Glen, John F. Kennedy, and John Yeates, were entering their last years as high schools as Lakeland and Nansemond River were soon to open in their place.
A walk through downtown could mean a visit to Leggett department store
to ride the escalator, a visit to Woolworth's to shop for school supplies, a stop for lunch at the Nansemond Drug lunch counter, or a fancy dinner at the
Front Street Restaurant. Not only that, but the eighties also meant Suffolk citizens enjoying a day at the fair each year at the annual Suffolk Peanut Fest.
Now, after a brief reprieve due to Covid, Suffolk citizens are once again able
to enjoy that same fair, and we are celebrating 80 years since the first ever Peanut Fest with a fun and exciting “80s” theme to go along with this year's 43rd annual fest. As a third generation Suffolkian, I’m excited to attend the fest that has been entertaining my family for many years. At the fest we can expect to see many of the things we’ve grown to love, from the fried Oreos, to the monster trucks, to the many stages filled with local and national talent. With the music and motorsports that we are bound to see and hear at the Peanut Fest, it would only make sense that we will once again see boys walking around with the mullets that have made a comeback in recent years. In all, whether you are attending the fest in 1985 or in 2021, you can bet you will have a great time at the Suffolk Peanut Fest!