Residents turn out for annual Peanut Valley Festival

Freedom New Mexico: Sarah Meyer Nicole Laurenz, 7, and her sister, Simone Laurenz, 12, enjoy shaved ice Saturday at the Peanut Valley Festival at Eastern New Mexico University. The girls recently moved from Texas to Portales with their family.

By Sarah Meyer: Freedom New Mexico

Dozens of booths filled with everything from purses and jewelry to pottery and artwork line the lobby and ballroom of Eastern New Mexico University’s Campus Union Building.

Outside, vendors cooked up kettle corn, barbecue, bratwurst and funnel cakes, and served up shaved ice and cotton candy.

It’s all part of the annual Peanut Valley Festival, and yes, you can get peanuts, as well as peanut butter and peanut brittle, at a booth operated by the Portales Woman’s Club.

On Saturday, a few area merchants were hoping for sales to pick up.

Ken Petree of Clovis said he’s been bring his Cowboy Candles, along with handcrafted pens and leatherwork, to the festival for several years. He didn’t have any leatherwork on display Saturday.

He said lots of people were looking, but they weren’t spending as much as usual.

“The crowd’s down,” he said. “For three reasons: The election, Wall Street and death.”

Sophia and James Hooper of Portales, manning down a family booth with handmade crosses in frames, bedspreads, notecards and greeting cards, said this is their first year at the festival.

“We hope all the people that are looking come back,” said Sophia Hooper.

Bennie Dennis and Norma Davis, with handcrafted jewelry and wood products, seemed to just be enjoying themselves.

Davis was happy to demonstrate a wooden ornament that clips together and comes apart to store flat, and to point out that each piece of her jewelry is “one of a kind.”

The two serve as camp hosts at Oasis State Park.

College students got into the fun, as well.

International Students have a booth with silk scarves, clothing and other products from the Far East, while Rabiah Memon was offering henna tattoos. The group is raising money for scholarships for international students, Memon said.

Outside, the Associated Students Activities Board has pumpkins spread out across the driveway. The group is offering pumpkins for two cans of food, which will go to the Food Bank of Eastern New Mexico. Pumpkins also can be purchased for $2.

Fast Facts:

What: Peanut Valley Festival

When: 11 a.m.-5 p.m. today

Where: Eastern New Mexico University, Campus Union Building