DUBLIN — The 24th annual Dublin Peanut Festival kicked off under cloudy skies, but by the time things really got going late Saturday morning, the clouds had been replaced by Carolina blue and sunshine.
N.C. 87, as it is every year for the parade, was filled to the brim on both sides from the start near Hwy. 41 to the finish well past Houston’s Peanuts.
Although folks enjoyed parade entries like the West Bladen marching band, JROTC groups from West Bladen and East Bladen, drill teams from Paul R. Brown Leadership Academy, fire apparatus from departments throughout the county, numerous queens and elected officials, several horses, the Tom Cats mini-car group, a number of animated characters like Spider-Man, Mickey Mouse, Minnie Mouse, Minion and others — children of all ages spent the 45-minute parade racing out to gather the bagfuls of candy being tossed by nearly every entrant.
“My kids love the parade because it’s better than Halloween for them,” said Lacey Johns of Garland, who brought her three children.
Once the parade came to a close, the throng of festival-goers headed for Dublin Primary School, where an array of food vendors, craft vendors, a classic car show, musical entertainment, games and rides awaited them. According to festival organizers, close to 70 vendors participated this year.
As the day grew warmer under a full sun, folks began to pack in under the entertainment tent, where they enjoyed the music provided all afternoon by The Carolina Soul Band and The Carolina Breakers Band.
“I come every year for the music,” said Robert Thomas of St. Pauls. “I get me a seat early, before the crowd gets here, and settle in for the concerts. You can’t beat the music.”
The crowd remained strong throughout the afternoon, keeping the vendors and rides busy. At 1 p.m., the popular tractor-pull event for children and women commenced and drew plenty of onlookers.
The proceeds from the Dublin Peanut Festival annually goes to help fund several local charities and scholarships at both West Bladen and Bladen Community College.
W. Curt Vincent can be reached by calling 910-862-4163.