On a chilly November day in 1938, residents of Dothan, Ala., gathered to celebrate the town’s peanut crop with a pageant, a grand ball and a tribute to a modest research professor from the Tuskegee Institute. After discovering more than 300 uses for peanuts and gaining international fame, 74-year-old Dr. George Washington Carver was making history again—this time as the honored guest at the first National Peanut Festival in Dothan.
Fast forward to today for a frolicking festival that spans nine days and draws close to 200,000 visitors. The festival features peanuts in every shape and form—especially during the recipe contest. The people of Dothan have every right to go nuts. According to the Alabama Peanut Producers Association, more than half of the nation’s peanuts are grown within a 100-mile radius of Dothan. And many of the state’s 1,800 peanut farmers live here, too.
Carver, no doubt, would be proud.
By Nancy Henderson