Plains, Peanuts and a President
By: Joy Crosby, Georgia Peanut Commission
TIFTON, Ga. — The 26th annual Plains Peanut Festival is scheduled for Saturday, Sept. 23 in Plains, Georgia, home of President Jimmy Carter and First Lady Rosalynn Carter. The event highlights the harvest of its cash crop, peanuts, which has big potential across the globe by providing a sustainable and nutritious product and fighting malnutrition. Georgia leads the nation in annual peanut production, accounting for nearly half of all the peanuts grown in the United States.
Farmers across the United States have begun harvesting peanuts, the sustainable crop that helps to replenish the soil with nutrients. Peanuts are also known for their health benefits. Peanuts contain more protein than any other nut and research continues to show that consuming a little less than a serving of peanuts a day is an effective way to reduce heart disease. Globally, peanuts are helping fight malnutrition by providing a therapeutic, ready-to-eat peanut product made in Fitzgerald, Georgia, from MANA Nutrition.
Festivities throughout the day include free entertainment, historical and educational displays, food vendors, as well as arts and crafts booths. The Peanut Institute, National Peanut Board, American Peanut Shellers Association, Georgia Peanut Commission, Hormel/Planters and the National Peanut Buying Points Association will display exhibits in the Peanut Pavilion beginning at 9:00 a.m.
Mr. Peanut will officially lead the parade which begins at 11:00 a.m. on Saturday, and the Wise family will be honored as the Grand Marshall. The Wise family heritage dates back to the 1860s when the family migrated from South Carolina, making them some of the first settlers in the Plains area. Phil, son of PJ and Mary Wynn Wise and Lonnie, son of Morgan and Ann Wise have followed their ancestors’ footsteps through community and church involvement in Plains.
Phil, Plains High School Class of 1969, graduated from Georgia Tech and served on Jimmy Carter’s gubernatorial staff, his 1975 Presidential campaign and his administration from 1977-1981. Phil retired as vice president of operations and development at the Carter Center in 2022 and continues serving Plains as a board member of the Friends of Jimmy Carter.
Lonnie, Plains High School Class of 1968, graduated from Georgia Southwestern State University after serving in the US Army. A career with Georgia Power Company lead him back to Plains where he serves on the board of the Plains Historical Preservation Trust, Rosalynn Carter Butterfly Trail and a Deacon at Plains Baptist Church.
SAM Shortline will arrive in Plains at 10:45 a.m. and then there will be several round trip rides from Plains to the Jimmy Carter Boyhood Farm in Archer. The festival street dance featuring Slaughter Creek will perform live on Main Street beginning at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday.
Sponsors of this year’s peanut festival include American Peanut Shellers Association, Birdsong Peanuts, Buffalo Peanut Company, Georgia Federal-State Inspection, Georgia Peanut Commission, Golden Peanut Company, MANA Nutrition, National Peanut Board, National Peanut Buying Points Association, Olam Peanut Shelling Company, Premium Peanut, Hormel/Planters, The Peanut Institute, and the United States Peanut Federation. Friends of the Jimmy Carter National Historic Site coordinates the festival annually.
Source: Georgia Peanut Commission