Brooklet counts down to Peanut Festival

By Lynda Figueredo - bioemail

BROOKLET, GA (WTOC) - Residents in Brooklet are going nuts this weekend.

Blue flames are ablaze in Brooklet as farmers boil up their crop for this year's Peanut Festival.

"I love this big challenge to get it all done and everything taken care of," said Sunrise Produce Owner James Sanders.

Sunrise Produce is the main boiled peanut supplier of the festival.

His team is working around the clock to pull up and cook up hundreds of bushels of peanuts for their busiest day of the year.

"It's' the sweet pie of the deal," said Sanders. "It is the best day of the year for me."

Organizers are feeling the heat as well.

"Today is almost as busy as tomorrow will be," said festival chairman Randy Newman. "Today we have the recreation coming to setup all of our tents. We have vendors that show up. It's a busy day. We are trying to get ready."

The festival pays tribute to Bulloch County's agricultural past and present.

"Peanuts in Bulloch County are one of our largest cash crops," said Strickland Farm Owner Lloyd Strickland. "The peanut festival celebrates peanuts and the farmers that produce them, so it is a great celebration for all of us and a very important time."

It is also a chance for farmers to earn some bragging rights by being the slowest tractor rider in town.

"My tractor is slower than yours," boasted Strickland. "As a matter of fact, I have an arch enemy that I try to beat every year. I usually beat him 1 out of 4 [times], but this year I am going to get him."

The festival founders first started the event to raise money for Christmas decorations. Twenty-one years later, it continues to attract thousands of people who travel just to be in the nuttiest part of Georgia.

"We hope this years festival will be the biggest and best ever," said Newman. "We are looking for 20,000 people this year to show up."

The 21st annual Brooklet Peanut Festival kicks off Saturday morning with a 5K run, followed by the big parade in downtown Brooklet. Then get ready for an afternoon of arts and crafts, live entertainment and the slow tractor race.

If you can't make it out to Brooklet, tune in Saturday morning at 10 a.m. for live parade coverage with Sonny Dixon, Dal Cannady and Ellen Perkins.

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