The Williston Chamber of Commerce will make George Washington Carver proud once again at its 32nd annual Central Florida Peanut Festival this Saturday from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m.
The festival, held at Heritage Park, will span over three city blocks and feature 100 vendors selling jewelry, home décor, plants, games, crafts, apparels and, of course, peanuts from boiled to peanut brittle and a lot in-between.
Williston Chamber of Commerce CEO Carolyn TenBroek said the festival is a great place to start holiday shopping.
“We just encourage everyone to come because we’re nuts about Williston,” she said in an interview with 106.9 I Am Country.
Butch Batts and the Southbound Band will perform and emcee throughout the day with Reggie Stacy filling in for them. A local tae kwon do outfit will also hold a demonstration.
Drawings for the Great Cash Giveaway’s $2,000 prize will be held every half hour. The reverse drawing gives away 300 tickets every year for $10. As of Thursday morning, only three tickets remained.
“They go quickly every year,” TenBroek said. “Everybody knows it’s coming and they expect it and usually the same people buy tickets every single year.”
The last ticket to be drawn wins the grand prize, and every 25th ticket also gets something.
The festival will also inaugurate the new, one-year reign of the Peanut Royalty who will be crowned on Saturday.
TenBroek said the festival attracted around 8,000 people in 2019 and a high of 10,000 the year before.
This year’s event will feature a first time afterparty thrown by Homestead Tiny Enterprises, one of the festival sponsors, at 1050 NE 6th Blvd. in Williston.
The afterparty will start with the first toss of the cornhole tournament at 4 p.m. Guests can enjoy music, pretzels and beer as well as bouncy houses and tailgate the UF vs. Kentucky game that starts at 6 p.m.
Registration remains open for the double elimination cornhole tournament, which will consist of 40 teams. The slots are filled on a first come, first serve basis and costs $40 per team. The top four teams will win prizes that include Yeti coolers, Eclipse Rockers, Lew’s Mach Smash spinner rods. Proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Williston Community Animal Shelter.
And any purchases of beer from a local Gainesville brewery throughout the festival will benefit the Williston Chamber of Commerce.
With all the walking, shopping and probable heat, TenBroek said the best advice for new peanut festival visitors is to stay hydrated.
“There’s something for everybody,” TenBroek said. “You can spend as much money as you like or spend zero―just come and have fun.”