FOR THE BOOKS
Published 4:00 am Tuesday, November 3, 2015
If the 2015 Peanut Butter Festival was a prelude to the 25th annual festival in 2016, then hold on to your straw hats folks because the milestone festival is going to be a barnburner.
Brundidge Mayor Jimmy Ramage said, as best he could tell, Saturday’s Peanut Butter Festival was one for the record books.
“The festival grounds have been expanded so there’s no way to estimate how many people were there at one time, but it was a lot,” Ramage said. “There was a huge crowd all day. Some people came and went. Some came and went and came back and some stayed all day. The weather cooperated so it was a good day all around.”
Ramage said the festival was good for downtown businesses as well as for vendors on the festival grounds.
“Business owners on Main Street said they had traffic in their stores throughout the day and that’s good,” he said. “The hope is that when people come to the Peanut Butter Festival they will also stop in the stores downtown. There has been a good bit of investment in our downtown area recently and we are very excited about that. There are a lot of positive things going on downtown and the Peanut Butter Festival brings people into town who might not have come otherwise. The festival is good for business and it’s good for Brundidge.”
Ramage, laughingly, said some of the participants in the Peanut Butter Festival just came running through.
“Those involved with the 5K Peanut Butter Run did an outstanding job,” he said. “I think about 74 runners competed and that was about 20 more than last year. We look for even more next year when the Peanut Butter Festival celebrates 25 years and the City of Brundidge celebrates 125 years.”
So, a lofty goal for runners might be 125 — one for each year.
If the sponsoring Brundidge Historical Society sets a goal of 125 for its vendor booths that would be doable, said Cathie Steed, who heads that committee.
“We had 90 vendors this year and another 25 demonstrator and non-profit booths,” she said. “With the good crowd that we had throughout the day, the opportunities were there for good sales.”
Steed said Joe Todd’s working cane mill never slowed down and neither did the other demonstrators with corn grinding, quilt making, pottery throwing, snakes and snails and a whole lot more.
“The BHS was out of peanut butter by mid-morning but we had sandwich samples of peanut butter and pickles, pimento cheese and fried ‘balonie’ and fried peanuts until late in the afternoon,” she said.
“The Alabama Peanut Producers from Dothan made grilled PB&J sandwiches and they went like hotcakes.”
Steed said the entertainment kept the bleachers filled throughout the day.
“We had outstanding local gospel bands, The Hendersons and the Benton Brothers & Company, and the Herb Trotman Bluegrass Band from Birmingham. The American Legion Line Dancers and In His Step entertained the crowd and invited them to participate. Circuit Rider Ed Shirley entertained with the old time church songs and was also our emcee.
“We had barnyard area for the kids and there was never a dull moment in that area. The Peanut Butter Recipe Contest brought out some of the county’s best cooks and the Nutter Butter Parade was full of nuts and a lot of fun. All in all, it was a great Peanut Butter Festival.”