In the low country, we love to eat. There is an unspoken rule that the way to a southern person’s heart is through his or her stomach. Down south, food is in our roots. Our heritage lies in lush acres of black-eyed peas and silver queen corn.
While those foods are flavorful contenders for any taste bud’s liking, a southern garden’s true delicacies are hidden in shells below ground: peanuts. They can be roasted or fried, but it is boiled peanuts that drive our senses to savory ends. Boiled peanuts are a staple of summer; they pair well with sweet tea and, most importantly, you can never have too many. In fact, the only thing that might be better than that perfectly salted snack is the fellowship that comes with it.
For years, families and friends have gathered together in the name of good food. When boiled peanuts are on the table, the offer is rarely refused. At least that’s how it is in the town of Brooklet, whose culture is so influenced by this legume crop that they have a festival to celebrate it every year.
The Brooklet Community Development Association (BCDA) will host the 30th annual Brooklet Peanut Festival on Sept. 21. From great food to free entertainment, there is something for every age to enjoy.
It all began around 1989 when a group of ladies in Brooklet met up to play some card games. While reveling in good company, they talked about their beloved town and how they wanted to decorate it for Christmas. The women decided to raise the money needed for those decorations. In the midst of white lights and Christmas carols, a committee was born. They didn’t stop there. The group later went on to host the first ever peanut festival. Each year since then, the festival has grown with the help of volunteers and sponsors.
Now, the peanut festival starts with a televised morning parade in Statesboro. The parade is followed by all-day events in downtown Brooklet. Shuttles run from the parade site to the festival with designated stops, which makes for a convenient and stress-free commute. Beginning at 10 a.m., arts and crafts projects will be offered to visitors. There will also be a variety of food booths and amusement vendors available. In addition to the activities on site, musical performances will be given by the Southeast Bulloch High School Band, among others. By noon, competitors will be gearing up for the slow tractor race. The point of this competition is to see whose tractor can go the slowest without shutting off. The fun will continue with an evening street dance until 10:30 p.m.
Though the festival is guaranteed to be a memorable time for visitors, a lot of work goes on behind the scenes. Between 20 and 30 committee members meet once a month for a whole year before the final plans are ironed out. On the day of the event, dozens more show up to volunteer their time. Without these people, the operation would be next to impossible. It is through their commitment that the town is able to uphold its greatest traditions and enjoy the taste of those hot, boiled peanuts.
To learn more about the Brooklet Peanut Festival, go online at www.brookletpeanutfestival.com.
10 a.m. Parade begins
Arts and crafts, food and amusement vendors available
Noon Tractor races begin
7 p.m. Street dance begins
There is live, free entertainment at the festival site throughout the afternoon. The festival ends at 10:30 p.m.