For 25 years, the annual Dublin Peanut Festival has brought hundreds upon hundreds of people from throughout the region to the tiny town of Dublin, where they have enjoyed a Saturday filled with a parade, numerous vendors of all kinds, carnival rides and games, and often the best slate of bands this side of any county fair.
This past Saturday was no exception.
If the day was a celebration only of the festival’s 25th year, those who attended would have gone home having enjoyed a beautiful day filled with a lot of fun.
But when folks went home this time, it was with the feeling they had been a part of the final Dublin Peanut Festival — ever.
That’s a sobering, sad feeling for anyone who has been a part of the planning and producing the festival, as well as anyone who has participated in any of the 25 events in any way — from vendors to parade entries to entertainers — and everyone who has ever attended.
We feel sure nobody has as much pride in their part of the Dublin Peanut Festival as Donnie and Bobbie Todd, each of whom have served as major planners, organizers and leaders of the event since its inception. Over the 25 years, they have been responsible for much of the success the festival has had — and they, along with 15 other committee members, have fashioned the Dublin Peanut Festival into the best festival Bladen County has had. Hands down.
Planning began in 1992 for a fundraiser to help pay for a new gymnasium/multi-purpose building at Dublin Elementary, and the first event was held in September 1993. It was an instant hit.
During its run, if in fact it has come to an end, the festival has raised and given thousands of dollars in college scholarships and crowned numerous queens. In addition, there have been donations to Bladen We Care, Bladen Habitat for Humanity, heating assistance for the elderly, and the Dublin Elementary School Teacher and Staff Appreciation Breakfast — and many more.
There is little doubt that, without a Dublin Peanut Festival in 2018, there will be a tremendous hole left in September that will be very difficult to fill.
Anyone who talks about this being the end of the road for the festival has also added the caveat that, “You never know … someone could step up.”
We hope that “someone” — whomever they may be — does just that. But it’s going to take a serious commitment by more than just one person who is willing to plan, organize and work this festival throughout the year. Much of the framework and infrastructure is in place, having had years of tried and tested methods, so the biggest piece missing is solid leadership from a caring committee.
Who might those folks be? You never know.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“Mostly it is loss which teaches us about the worth of things.” (Arthur Shopenhauer)