By CHERIL VERNON
Festivities for the three-day 68th Annual Peanut Festival will kick off today with a myriad of events throughout the weekend ranging from a carnival, parade, festival, street dance, homecoming activities and Peanut Queen coronation.
“Everything is beginning to fall in place,” festival chairman Brandon Bridges told the Herald-Press. “Carnival Family Night will be held Thursday in the park. This is the only time of the year we have a carnival in Houston County.”
Events today include the carnival from 6 to 10 p.m. at the Grapeland City Park. Wrist bands will be available for unlimited rides. It is expected to cost $20 per person.
Friday’s activities will kick off with the homecoming pep rally at 11:30 a.m. at Grapeland High School. The homecoming queen presentation will be held at 7 p.m. before the football game. The Grapeland Sandies will take on the San Augustine Wolves at 7:30 p.m.
“The Friday pep rally will kick things off for homecoming,” Bridges said. “A street dance on Main Street will follow the game, starting at 10 p.m. and the band Black Top Mojo will perform. All of the Peanut Festival events are family friendly and we want the whole family to participate.”
On Saturday, festivities will start at 10 a.m. with the 68th Annual Peanut Festival Parade with the theme “The Great Outdoors.”
“I know we are going to have at least 11 floats so we are expecting to have a really good year, more floats than we have had in recent history,” Bridges said. “The floats are judged on their craftsmanship, how well they meet the theme and how extravagant and detailed they are.”
Each Peanut Festival Queen contestant has her own float sponsored by an area business. Last year’s Peanut Festival Queen rides in a float put together by the Grapeland Chamber of Commerce, which puts on the festival.
Bridges offered a warning for those watching the parade near the railroad track. The parade route runs parallel to the train tracks.
“I want to remind everyone watching the parade to stay away from the railroad tracks for safety reasons. People should cross the tracks at designated areas and stay off the tracks,” Bridges said.
The Grapeland City Park will open at 10 a.m. Saturday for the Peanut Festival.
“We will have the carnival, arts and crafts booths as well as commercial booths, live music and the best food you can get,” Bridges said. “All the food vendors are similar to those you will see at a state fair. Why should you go to the state fair when you can get everything in Grapeland?”
Bridges encouraged everyone to be sure to get 68th Annual Peanut Festival souvenirs — the annual Peanut Festival t-shirt and a bag of peanuts. Festival t-shirts are available for $10 for youth and adult sizes and $12 for extra-large. Shirts are available in advance at Grapeland Farm and Ranch, Prosperity Bank and Treasures Etc.
“We will have all kinds of peanuts at the festival — in the shell, out of the shell, roasted and unroasted,” Bridges said.
The Peanut Festival Queen Coronation will be held at 7 p.m. Saturday at the Shoultz Auditorium. For tickets, contact Platt Heating and Air in Grapeland.
“There are tickets available but not many,” Bridges said.
The 5K Run scheduled for Saturday has been canceled.
“We did cancel the 5K, but we will try to continue it next year,” Bridges said.
For more information about the festival, visit www.peanutfest.com