Peanut Valley Festival boasts food, crafts

FNM correspondent: Jillian Holbert Peanuts, jewelry, clothes, candles and purses were available at Saturday’s Peanut Valley Festival in Portales.

Jillian Holbert

The 38th annual Peanut Valley Festival held something for all who attended Saturday.

The festival was held at Eastern New Mexico University’s Campus Union Building. Upstairs in the Ballroom, vendors sold fudge, holiday decorations, toys, sports memorabilia and Hispanic jewelry and clothes.

Downstairs in the main lobby of the CUB, patrons purchased peanuts, jewelry, clothes, candles and purses. Meanwhile, food was sold outside.

“They have a lot of crafts in there,” said Joe Garcia, a first time patron of the festival. “They put a lot of work into the material that they have so everything is really nice.”

Vendors came from all over the country to participate in the festival. Although she came from Emerald, Texas, and was a vendor from the Fudge Lady in Texas, Kayla Bradley graduated from ENMU in 2005 with a bachelor’s degree in psychology.

“I remember working this Peanut Valley Festival when I was a student,” said Bradley, who was a hit with buyers. “It’s going fantastic; I’m almost sold out of several different products.”

There were also local vendors at the festival such as the Portales Senior Citizens and the General Federation of Women’s Clubs. The GFWC was selling peanuts provided by Sunland Peanuts as a fundraiser for community and statewide projects.

“We’ve been the only ones who have sold peanuts … since the festival started,” said Patrice Tompkins, a representative with the GFWC.

The origins of the Peanut Valley Festival are sketchy. According to Angela Ayers, ENMU’s Campus Union coordinator, the festival has always been held on Saturday and Sunday in the third week of October at the CUB and the name comes from the fact that Portales is a big producer of peanuts.

“A couple of our alumni have a booth this year and they said that they were at the very first festival 38 years ago,” said Ayers, “and that it was held upstairs in the ballroom.”

The festival has come a long way since 1973. Now, there are more than 50 craft vendors, eight food vendors, live entertainment and activities for youngsters.

Angie Nottingham brought her family to enjoy the festive atmosphere.

“This is the first time I’ve been to the festival and the kids are loving it,” said Nottingham. “They love the food, they love the games, they love the Pizza Song. They are having a great time.”