November 10, 1938
The first National Peanut Festival was held in Dothan, featuring special guest George Washington Carver. The three-day festival included a pageant, a parade, a historical play and a grand ball. Held annually each fall, the festival celebrates the harvest season and the region’s peanut industry, which grows more than 65 percent of the nation’s peanuts. Today, the event is the largest peanut festival in the nation, attracting more than 165,000 guests annually over a 10-day period. The festival includes carnival rides, livestock shows, agricultural displays, live music, pageants and competitions — including sewing, cake decorating, photography and who has grown the largest peanut.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
The National Peanut Festival was created to celebrate the contributions of peanut farming and processing to the Wiregrass region of Alabama. This poster announced the 1947 celebration. (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture, Troy University)
George Washington Carver, standing in field, probably at Tuskegee, holding piece of soil, 1906. (Photograph by Benjamin Frances, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
George Washington Carver at the Tuskegee Institute, 1906. (Photograph by Benjamin Frances, Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division)
This float from the 1970 National Peanut Festival parade carries the “Peanut Farmer of the Year.” (From Encyclopedia of Alabama, courtesy of Archives of Wiregrass History and Culture, Troy University)
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.