‘Peanut Butter Kids’ are a symbol of harvest and heritage celebration

Published 3:00 am Friday, October 27, 2017

On Saturday at the 26th Annual Peanut Butter Festival, the festival emcee will invite all kids who would like to be honorary Peanut Butter Kids to the stage. Those who pass the test and pledge to be lifelong peanut butter lovers are recognized as Peanut Butter Kids and alumni of the Peanut Butter Festival.

The Peanut Butter Kids are two of the most recognized personalities of the annual Brundidge Peanut Butter Festival. The original Peanut Butter Kids were the namesakes of the peanut butter manufactured at the Johnson Peanut Butter Company located on the south side of Brundidge in the early 1930s.

The Johnston Peanut Butter Mill opened in the downtown area around 1928 and was enjoying great success when the Johnson brothers, Grady and Oscar opened the town’s second peanut butter mill. Grady named the mill’s peanut butter for his children, Louis and Anise. Although Louis and Anise were talented artists, it is believed that the label, with two kids, was designed by their father.

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Both Louis and Anise were well-known in Brundidge and Pike County. Louis wasn’t old enough to join the United States Air Corps when war broke out in 1941 so he joined the Canadian Air Corps. Later, he was able to join Uncle Sam’s air corps. He was a fighter pilot and also the private pilot for General Montgomery.

As a reward for his bravery during a forced landing when the general was aboard, Louis was given permission to use the Louis-Anne peanut butter logo as nose art on the general’s airplane.

After the war, Louis became a commercial artist in Dallas and designed billboards for Coca-Cola. Anise married Jeff Sorrell, a wealthy Pike County farmer and timber man. They lived in the Saco community. Sorrell Chapel on the Troy University campus is named in memory of Anise, the peanut butter kid.