September 2017

Going Nuts: The Bluffton Boiled Peanut Festival is getting back to its roots.

Author: Barry Kaufman

The last few years have been transformative for Bluffton: New high-end businesses have opened, older areas of town have been refurbished, and there’s a sudden hipness associated with this once-sleepy little river town. But with that newfound cultural cache, it can be easy to forget that Bluffton used to carry itself with unabashed quirkiness. This is a place, after all, whose local newspaper was once called The Bluffton Eccentric. The place where an ugly dog contest stands as an annual highlight.

Fortunately, no matter how much Bluffton grows up, it’s good to know that no one can take away from us our quirkiest claim to unorthodox fame: the world’s largest boiled peanut.
Said massive goober will be given its annual moment in the spotlight during the “Cracking of the Nut” which will ring in the start of this year’s sixth annual Boiled Peanut Festival.

Never an event to be missed, the opening ceremony at 6 p.m. Sept. 21 will see the King & Queen of the Festival serving as grand marshals, christening the nut in true Bluffton fashion with beer. Oh, you were expecting champagne? The nut itself, which a press release delightfully describes as “ginormous,” was famously featured on an episode of Shipping Wars and was created by festival founder Jared Jester.

Then, with the pomp and circumstance taken care of, the festival will return to its roots from 3-8 p.m. Sept. 23 along Calhoun Street after spending last year in the grassy fields by the post office. Along with your chance to get out there and sample some of the area’s finest boiled peanuts, you’ll find live music and a fleet of vendors and crafters making this a true festival experience.

But it’s not all fun and games. “It’s really about the contests,” said event organizer Shellie West.

And there are many. First up, the Peanut Pageant, at which we will crown Bluffton’s 2017 L’il Baby Goober, L’il Miss Peanut and L’il Mr. Goober. If your kid has that million-watt pageant smile, applications will be available during the Bluffton Farmers Market leading up to the event.

On top of that, there will be the annual peanut cook-off and the crowning event, the peanut eating contest. “We time it for three minutes, over several heats, and then we weigh the shells,” West said. “The first year, we had a lady who beat out all the guys.”

Along with the festivities will be a kids’ zone as well as a VIP area for the “boiled peanut eating elite.”

Want in on the fun?
“We’re always looking for volunteers. That’s the fun part,” West said. To sign up, visit boiledpeanutfestival.com or call (843) 757-1010.

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