BLADEN COUNTY, NC (WECT) - Less than 1,000 people live in the Bladen County Town of Dublin, but this weekend, more than 2,000 visitors will be on hand there for the annual Dublin Peanut Festival.
A lack of funding for construction of a building is what convinced town residents to hold the festival in the first place. In the early 90's, town residents felt the students at Dublin Primary School needed a gymnasium and multi-purpose center, so they requested money from Bladen County officials to construct the building.
But there were no funds available, so citizens decided to create a festival honoring the peanut, and raised enough money to build the gym themselves.
"There were a group of community citizens and we got together, threw out ideas and since we have a peanut plant here in Dublin, they volunteered to help," said David Kirby, a Dublin resident and former student of Dublin School. "So we got it going. The first one, it rained, but it turned out OK, and we have been doing it ever since."
That was over 20 years ago. Today, it is the only multi-purpose primary school building of its kind in the Bladen County Schools, and will be the site of this weekend's 21st festival.
"And it is a proud tradition that the school has been able to partner with the community in such a positive way," said Haley Cheshire, Principal of Dublin Primary School. "We host the festival each year, and our children compete to draw the T-shirt design, and we are proud to partner with the community. That's what schools are all about."
The soil found in Bladen County is suitable for a variety of agricultural products, including the standard row crops of corn, soybeans and cotton. While the majority of the peanuts grown in the Tar Heel state come from Northeastern North Carolina, there is something in the soil in Bladen County that allows for a large amount of peanuts to be produced each year.
And peanuts are actually known by many other names: earthnuts, ground nuts, goober peas, monkey nuts, even pig nuts. But no matter what you call them, you'll find plenty of them as Town of Dublin residents kick off the festival in their town this weekend.
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