October 3, 2019 6:00pm | Silent Auction & Social Hour 7:00pm | Dinner, Fashions & Crowning of the Queen
Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront & Suffolk Conference Center 100 East Constance Road in Downtown Suffolk
Tickets: $30 per person, general seating only. Reserved seating available for tables of 10 only. Tickets must be purchased in advance. No tickets will be sold at the door.
Ticket Outlets: Suffolk Visitor Center, 524 North Main Street. 757.514.4130 Cecelia's Boutique & Gifts, 120 North Main Street, 757.539.3100
Produced by The Pilot Club of Suffolk
A few snapshots of the evening . . .
2019 Suffolk Peanut Fest Court Top Row L to R: Carley Bennett, Nansemond River High School; Cassidy Hayes, Suffolk Christian Academy; Foram Nanavaty, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy; Imani Boatner, Lakeland High School; Ally Tolson, King's Fork High School. Bottom Row L to R: Khalema Salome, Lakeland High School; Margaret Copeland, Suffolk Christian Academy; Miranda May, Nansemond-Suffolk Academy; Victoria Heerah, King's Fork High School; Amanda Davis, Nansemond River High School.
In the song “My Girl,” The Temptations famously sang, “I’ve got sunshine on a cloudy day.” They could sing this because sunshine isn’t just an outward phenomenon; it’s something that can happen even on a cloudy day. That’s because sunshine is something that warms the soul. Sunshine illuminates the heart. Sunshine... is Peanut Fest This type of sunshine impacts everything that it touches. It radiates from the smile of the giant Mr. Peanut, greeting visitors young and old. It shines through the sounds of laughter as families and friends come together. It twinkles and glows through the smell of freshly roasted peanuts wafting through the Suffolk air. It illuminates the night sky with fireworks and Ferris Wheel lights. Finally, it sparkles from the crown of the Suffolk Peanut Festival Queen as she represents the shining city of Suffolk. I remember my first taste of this special kind of sunshine the first time I stepped foot into the Suffolk Peanut Festival when I was eleven years old. It was a cloudy, gloomy day in Suffolk, and if I am being honest, I was hesitant to even get out of bed. However, my friend insisted we go, and I agreed to give it a try. The moment we pulled into the parking lot, something changed. As I was greeted by the Goober Gang, I immediately felt welcome and part of a larger community. We spent the day riding rides, laughing and smiling at the fun surrounding us, and munching on delicious festival treats. I can tell you, it was like the sun breaking through the clouds. I couldn’t help but let the joyous spirit inside of me burst into smiles and laughter. Like those famous words by the Temptations, the Peanut Fest is sunshine on a cloudy day – or a cloudless day. No matter the sky, it dazzles with cheer, warmth, and happiness. As Peanut Fest Queen, I would be proud to represent those inward qualities of sunshine that the Peanut Fest embodies – the strong sense of Suffolk community; the positive symbol that Mr. Peanut represents for people all over the world; and the light-hearted joy that Peanut Fest delivers to people throughout Hampton Roads. So without further ado, let the sun shine – it’s Peanut Fest time.
Since 1941, the peanut festivities have included an array of pageantry and the coronation of a queen and her court. The first "Queen Arachis Hypogea" (the botanical name for the peanut plant), Olive Cawley from New Jersey, was attired in an all-peanut gown, and her entourage included 50 princesses from dozens of communities and neighboring states.
The second festival queen, Patricia Donnelly of Detroit, had been the 1939 Miss America. She was greeted at the airport by dignitaries including Amedeo Obici, who scattered roasted peanuts at her feet rather than the traditional rose petals.
The modern predecessor of today's festival, Harvest Fest, was started in 1978, and the festival queen was voted by the general public. Since then, the title has been bestowed to scores of young ladies, along with the task of representing the festival and the City of Suffolk and an array of activities.
Today's festival queen is selected from among rising high school seniors that are evaluated by a panel based on four criteria: a creative writing essay; school activities; awards and achievements; and community involvement. The Queen and her Court will be recognized at a Banquet produced by the Pilot Club of Suffolk.
Since 1974, The Pilot Club of Suffolk has worked diligently to support community-based organizations and activities. For instance, the Club hosts an annual Civic Night when donations are presented to community agencies; it educates both children and adults about brain-related disorders; handcrafts 500 teddy bears for Sentara Obici Memorial Hospital; recognizes 50 high school students who have demonstrated exemplary community spirit, etc.
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