Grapeland Prepares for the Big Weekend 

By Greg Ritchie

Messenger Reporter

GRAPELAND –  The flags wave and the streets gleam in downtown Grapeland – but behind the scenes residents are working with one goal – to bring the 77th annual Peanut Festival to life. Success depends on many things: weather, turn-out from visitors – and somewhere near one million other details. 

The Grapeland Chamber of Commerce is working to get vendors and visitors in place and ready for the Saturday parade and festival. The City of Grapeland itself is sweeping streets, giving the city a good clean and making sure visitors are welcomed and kept safe. Grapeland Independent School District works toward the Friday night homecoming game and its related festivities. This year’s four candidates for Peanut Queen fuss over dresses and parade floats – all while being full-time high school seniors. 

Grapeland City Supervisor Kevin Watts said the city has been working with many of the local residents to get the downtown “spic-and-span” before the festival. 

“We have had street-sweepers come in this past week and clean all the city streets,” Watts said. “Our good friend Nikki Steinsbo (from Best Friends Community Services) came out and put American and Texas flags out on all of the telephone poles on Main Street. The Lion’s Club re-striped some of our parking places downtown. The local FHA came through and painted all of our fire hydrants!”

The Grapeland Noon Lions Club will be fundraising for good causes, ferrying people from parking areas to the parade. Watts asks people not to park on Main Street before the parade. 

“When people are coming to enjoy the parade, we do ask them to park on the railroad side of Main Street and leave the parking spots in front of all the businesses open,” Watts said. “That way we can give the parade route as much room as possible. Some of the floats are pretty big and some big equipment, too. We just want to make sure everyone is safe and the parade has plenty of room to get down Main Street.”

Friday, Oct. 14 will see the homecoming game with the Sandies battling district rival Shelbyville Dragons at 7 p.m.  The carnival will be open that day from 6 p.m. until 11 p.m. At 9 p.m. there will be a concert in the park with the Rodney Reeves band.

Saturday, Oct. 15 the traditional downtown parade will begin at 10 a.m. Then the carnival and live music will go on all day. That night the Peanut Queen Pageant will be held in the school auditorium at 7 p.m. This year’s candidates are Alexis Lopez, Emily Hanna, Marley Duhon and Daria Konkova. 

2022 Peanut Queen Candidates

The homecoming court this year includes:

  • Freshmen Representative – Allison Mars
  • Freshmen Representative – Blake Davis
  • Sophomore Representative – Rickie Gilmore
  • Junior Representative – Destin Dunn
  • Junior Representative – La’Shae Jones
  • Senior – Omarian Wiley
  • Senior – Cole Goolsby 
  • Senior – Jeremy Pierce
  • Senior Johnny Lamb
  • Senior – Kyelan Beasley
  • Senior – Sa’Riah Davis
  • Senior – Cyshia Black
  • Senior – Destiny Bolden
2022 Grapeland ISD Homecoming Court

Weather can always be a factor – too hot or a threat of rain can ruin months of careful work. As much as the county needs rain – there’s at least none in the forecast through the weekend. With sunny skies, highs in the low 90’s and cool mornings and evenings – the weather seems made for a Peanut Festival. 

The sponsors for this year’s festival are Nucor-Vulcraft, Badder’s Law Firm, Cutshaw Chevrolet, Darling Ingredients, Grapeland State Bank, Bruner’s Economy Car Center and the Stubblefield family.

The music line-up for Saturday is set too, with different styles guaranteed to please just about everyone: “Almost Legal” will begin playing at 11 a.m. “Rochelle and the Sidewinders” will being at 1 p.m. “Johnnie Helm Band” begins at 3 p.m.

Greg Ritchie can be reached at [email protected]

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