Cubmobile drivers raced and a new Miss Peanut was crowned on Saturday as the 2021 National Peanut Festival shifted into high gear.
Miss Wicksburg, Lydia Paulson, was crowned Miss National Peanut Festival. Miss Ozark, Claudia Walker, was 1st runner-up. The other members of the top five were Miss Colquitt, Jacey Cox, Miss Geneva, Cameron Mitchum, and Miss Slocomb, Madison Ward.
The pageant featured contestants who would have competed for the 2020 crown but were unable to because the pageant and other activities surrounding the National Peanut Festival were not held last year due to COVID-19. Instead, the 2019-2020 queens served for two years.
There were 26 contestants this year although the pageant started with 43. Many of the contestants had to withdraw due to conflicts with college schedules.
The annual Cubmobile Derby was open to boys and girls ages 7-12 and had more than 70 competitors. The derby used to be held in downtown Dothan but was moved to the fairgrounds in 2018.
While the 2021 festival is moving ahead, there are some precautions that will be asked of fairgoers – although none of the precautions are mandatory.
“The NPF team needs every fairgoer to do their part and most of all, be respectful of others and do the right thing,” the peanut festival’s website states. “The current health situation makes for a challenging backdrop for the 77th fair. Of course, we would love for everyone to attend the fair this year and continue the great family traditions that make the event special to so many; however, we understand that some will be hesitant.”
The fair is set for Nov. 5-14 at the fairgrounds, 5622 U.S. Hwy. 231 South. The parade will be held Nov. 13 in downtown Dothan.
Organizers are urging visitors to 77th National Peanut Festival to get fully vaccinated prior to attending, but there will be no vaccination requirement in order to attend the fair.
And if you can’t get vaccinated beforehand, the Houston County Public Health Department will be offering free vaccines at the fairgrounds on Saturday, Nov. 6, from noon to 4 p.m. and Wednesday, Nov. 10, from 4:30-8:30 p.m.
Masks won’t be mandated unless by government order but will be encouraged for visitors to the fair, especially for indoor spaces and crowded outdoor events held during the fair. Some independent vendor booths may even require masks for anyone in the booth, according to the peanut festival website.
For more information on this year’s National Peanut Festival, visit nationalpeanutfestival.com.