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The Virginia Peanut Festival is older than the Super Bowl, predates the “Virginia is for Lovers” state slogan and started before the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964.

John Hart, Associate Editor

August 25, 2022

2 Min Read
The antique tractor parade is a highlight of the Virginia Peanut Festival every year Virginia Peanut Festival

The Virginia Peanut Festival is older than the Super Bowl, predates the famous “Virginia is for Lovers” state slogan and started before the Beatles appeared on the Ed Sullivan Show in 1964 which makes this year’s 60th annual festival a true milestone.

Retired peanut farmer Maxie Moore has been involved in every Virginia Peanut Festival since the first one in 1963. He is actively involved in this year’s festival as well. The 60th annual Virginia Peanut Festival is set for Sept. 23-24 at Veterans Memorial Park at 201 South Main Street in Emporia. Admission, parking, and entertainment are free.

“The Virginia Peanut Festival is one of the oldest festivals in the commonwealth. It came before the Beatles first appeared on the Ed Sullivan show in 1964. It was before the first Super Bowl in 1967 and it was before the first ‘Virginia is for Lovers” state slogan emerged in 1969,” says Moore, 83, a member of the Virginia Peanut Festival Committee and the festival’s most well-known promoter.

Moore said he became involved in the very first Virginia Peanut Festival as a farmer in 1963 and has been involved in every festival since then because the festival is a great way to educate the public on the vital importance of peanuts to the Virginia economy.

After retiring from peanut farming, Moore worked in the peanut business as a buyer and in related agribusinesses for more than 40 years.

“I’ve been in the peanut world all my life. The festival is about celebrating peanut harvest time, but also about bringing attention to the Virginia peanut. The Virginia peanut is the biggest, best tasting peanut in the world, pretty to look at and tasty as well,” Moore says.

“The Virginia Peanut Festival is a salute to the peanut farmers of southeastern Virginia and their great agricultural heritage. The Virginia Peanut Festival is also a time for the promotion of Virginia-type peanuts produced here in southeastern Virginia. It provides an opportunity for those involved in the production, processing, and marketing of Virginia peanuts to get together on an informal basis with the consumer of their products,” Moore explains.

The festival is hosted by the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce. A car show, a carnival, arts and crafts and food vendors are key to the festival. Bands and other entertainment perform throughout the day on Saturday and the festival concludes with a fireworks show on Saturday evening. The Virginia Peanut Festival draws more than 15,000 people to Emporia and is always held on the fourth weekend of September, with the exception of the pandemic in 2020.

About the Author(s)

John Hart

Associate Editor, Southeast Farm Press

John Hart is associate editor of Southeast Farm Press, responsible for coverage in the Carolinas and Virginia. He is based in Raleigh, N.C.

Prior to joining Southeast Farm Press, John was director of news services for the American Farm Bureau Federation in Washington, D.C. He also has experience as an energy journalist. For nine years, John was the owner, editor and publisher of The Rice World, a monthly publication serving the U.S. rice industry.  John also worked in public relations for the USA Rice Council in Houston, Texas and the Cotton Board in Memphis, Tenn. He also has experience as a farm and general assignments reporter for the Monroe, La. News-Star.

John is a native of Lake Charles, La. and is a  graduate of the LSU School of Journalism in Baton Rouge.  At LSU, he served on the staff of The Daily Reveille.

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