Event Begins Oct. 12

By Will Johnson
Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND – It has been said that Christmas is “the Most Wonderful Time of the Year” and while that may be true, in the Queen City of the Sand Flats, the weekend of the Peanut Festival ranks a close second.

On Thursday, Oct. 12 the 72nd Annual Peanut Festival will kick off and the City of Grapeland will begin the process of welcoming thousands of visitors and former residents back to town for a weekend chock full of fun, food and frivolity.  This year’s theme is “Under the Sea.”

The bright lights of the carnival will be seen from miles around on that Thursday evening as the carnival rides and games roar to life. Squeals of laughter and delight will be heard as the festival goers begin their descent on the Grapeland City Park.

The official start of the Peanut Festival begins with Carnival Family Night at the Grapeland City Park on Thursday, Oct. 12. Carnival rides, games and fried delicacies of all sorts will take center stage beginning at 6 p.m. and lasting until 10 p.m. Armbands allowing carnival goers to “ride all night” will be available for purchase at the park at a cost of $20 per armband.

The festivities kick into high gear on Friday, Oct. 13. Starting things off will be the Homecoming Pep Rally in the Grapeland High School Gymnasium. Cheerleaders, students, faculty and alumni will all be in the gym to help get the Mighty Sandies fired up for their football game later in the evening.

Plan to show up early at Sandie Stadium later that evening as the Homecoming King and Queen – along with their Royal Court – are announced. This year, the King and Queen will be crowned during ceremonies prior to the game.

Following the crowning of the 2017 Homecoming King and Queen, the Grapeland Sandies will take the field for a tilt with the Overton Mustangs.

Once the game ends, the action will crank back up at the Grapeland City Park with a concert and dance. The music will be Mark Goodnight and the Ruby Creek Band. A new dance area has been installed at the park so those who want to cut a rug won’t continuously trip over those pesky pinecones! The music and boot scootin’ are scheduled to last from 9 p.m. until midnight.

Saturday, Oct. 14 marks a day chock full of Peanut Festival events. Head on back to the downtown area early in the morning and find the perfect spot to watch a parade. For more information, please contact the Parade Invitation Chair Linda Reed at 409-651-8491 or Peanut Festival Chair Tammy Hassell 936-687-4903. For those who have pre-registered, line-up begins promptly at 8:30 a.m.

There will be an “All You Can Eat” pancake breakfast at 7 a.m. at the First Christian Memorial Church beginning at 7 a.m. The cost is $5 per person and $2 for kids under five years of age with the proceeds benefitting the First Christian Church Memorial (the Little White Church).

At 10 a.m., police sirens and fire truck claxons will sound, marking the start of the parade. Queens contestants’ floats, tractors, cars, police and fire vehicles, motorcycles, horses and a slew of other entrants will entertain those in attendance as the parade winds its way down Main Street and through the Grapeland area.

When the parade ends, you will want to make your way back to the Grapeland City Park for a day full of fun, food, games and rides. Arts and crafts booths, vendors selling their wares, turkey legs, ribbon fries and funnel cakes will dominate the scene as visitors and residents alike stroll through the park grounds enjoying a full spectrum of all things peanut.

Take a break around 4 or 4:30 p.m., go home, shower, check the college football score but be ready to go again by 7 p.m. That’s when one lovely young lady will begin her quest to become Miss Peanut Queen 2017.

The Queen’s Coronation begins at 7 p.m., however, try and get to the Lorena Schultz Auditorium early as seating is limited.

Tickets are not on sale as of yet but will be available at Platt Heating and Air for $10. If any tickets are still available by Saturday, Oct. 14, the chamber will have them at their booth at the City Park during the Saturday events.

Will Johnson may be contacted via e-mail at wjohnson@messenger-news.com.