The National Peanut Festival

The National Peanut Festival is very unique and celebrates the impact this groundnut has had on the Southeastern United States.

This area where this little nut is grown includes Alabama, Georgia, and Florida, and this festival celebrates what has happened right here in this historic state.

It is held each fall in Dothan, located in Houston County, Alabama’s eighth largest city.

Located in the southeastern part of the state, it is 20 miles west of Georgia, and 16 miles north of Florida.

Known as the Peanut Capital of the World, this area produces a whopping 65 percent of all the peanuts produced in the United States.

Because of this and its location to the other two large production states, it is the ideal location for the National peanut Festival.

It is the largest event celebrating peanuts in the country and is now a 10-day event that annually draws over 163,000 visitors, not only from the south, but from the world.

It relies on a volunteer force of over 500 individuals, and this event has numerous different venues.

These venues include the following:

  • Carnival Rides
  • Livestock Shows
  • Agricultural Displays
  • Arts and Crafts
  • Pageants
  • Live Music
  • Local Foods
  • Peanuts---Plenty of Peanuts

It is held each fall, and depending on the year, it will vary from the end of October to the beginning of November.

The History of The National Peanut Festival

Peanuts in AlabamaPeanuts in Alabama

The first National Peanut Festival was held in November of 1938, and it was a 3-day event featuring George Washington Carver.

Mr. Carver was an agricultural pioneer, as well as the head of the Tuskegee Intitule Experiment Station.

He was known world-wide for the uses he found for this little nut, and he found over 200 uses for it.

This first festival included a grand ball, a parade, a pageant, as well as a historical play.

In the year 1940, the America Legion Post 12 sponsored the festival, and in 1941 they brought in cadets.

These cadets were from the Advanced Flying School, located at Dothan’s Napier Field, for a shorter version of it.

It had been held annually since 1938, except 1945-46 because of World War II, but was revised in full in 1947.

In the year 1953, this festival had grown so large, that the organizers of it added a carnival to help finance it.

In the 1950’s though the 1970’s carnivals were extremely popular and exciting, so this was the perfect solution for additional revenue.

The Growth of The National Peanut Festival

Peanuts at the National Peanut FestivalPeanuts at the National Peanut Festival

The National Peanut Festival had grown so much that in the mid-1950’s, it formed the association the was led by the Dothan Area Chamber of Commerce.

Today that has all changed, and the festival has three full time employees, as well as a 35-memer board made up of the community, local businesses, as well as industry leaders.

This festival has not always been held in Dothan, as it has been held in numerous locations.

One of the other places it was held was the Houston County Farm Center, also located in Dothan, on East Cottondale Road.

However, in the year 1993 the festival committee purchased 150 acres with loans and help from the U.S. Department of Agriculture.

Today the land where the festival is held is located U.S. Highway 231, and this land was purchased from the former President of the festival.

In 1999, the event was officially moved from the farm center to it new grounds, where it has been held ever since.

The National Peanut Festival Products and Events

Peanut Butter Ready to SpreadPeanut Butter Ready to Spread

There are several products and events at the National Peanut Festival, and here are the products first.

  • Peanut Oil
  • Peanut Butter
  • Peanut Flour

Peanut Oil

Leading the list of products is Peanut Oil, which is used in cooking, as it has a mild flavor and has a relatively high smoke point.

It is considered to be more healthy than saturated oils, due to its high monounsaturated content.

It is also resistant to rancidity, and there are different types of peanut oil including refined, extra virgin, as well as peanut extract.

It is also exempt from allergen labeling in the United States.

Peanut Butter

Peanut Butter is the next product, and it is a food paste or spread that is made from ground dry roasted peanuts.

It is served as a spread on bread, toast and crackers, and then of course there is everyone’s favorite, peanut butter and jelly sandwiches.

The United States is the leading exporter of this delicacy, and in this country, we consume over $ 800 million dollars of it annually.

Peanut flour is used in gluten-free cooking and gaining in popularity every day.

The Events at the National Peanut Festival

The Crowds at the National Peanut FestivalThe Crowds at the National Peanut Festival

There are numerous events at the National Peanut Festival, and they include Music, Free Children’s Train Rides, Car Shows, and Dunking Booths.

There are also Antique Tractors, Roasted Corn, Snow Cones, Kettle Corn, Bell Farm Boiled Peanuts, Lemonade, and one of Alabama’s favorite’s, Bayou Billys Sweet Tea.

There are also numerous livestock shows and contests, and they include the Alabama Bred Lamb Show, Junior Heifer/Feeder Steer, and the Market Hog Showmanship.

There is also a Poultry Show, a Youth Meat Goat Show, and a Field Crop Contest.

Other contests and events include Cake and Cookie Decorating, Food Preservation and Honey, Photography, Pumpkin Decorating, and a Recipe Contest.

The Honey competition is a huge event, as local honey is a favorite in Alabama, as it is used to help stop allergies in peak season.

There is also live entertainment, numerous vendors, as well as the largest trade show for peanuts as well as cotton in the entire south.

If you and your family have never attended the National Peanut Festival in Dothan, you are in for a lot of fun and excitement.


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