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Peanut Fest returns featuring an 80’s vibe

By Rachel Austin and Jimmy LaRoue

Suffolk News-Herald

SUFFOLK, VA – After missing a year of celebration in 2020, the 2021 Suffolk Peanut Fest is back with new experiences for folks to enjoy here Oct. 8-10.

This year’s theme is “Music, Mullets & Motorsports: A Totally ’80s Vibe.”

“We’re celebrating a decade best known for bright colors, big hair, awesome music and a lot less technology,” said Theresa Earles, the 2021 Peanut Fest Chairman.

This 1980s party will rock the city for only three days instead of the usual four. The schedule has shifted to encompass fewer days but will still allow the Suffolk Ruritan Club Shrimp Feast, now on Friday night (Oct. 8) from 3 to 7 p.m.

Keeping the emphasis on motorsports, the Demolition Derby and kid’s power wheel derby will still be present. The kid’s derby will be at 11 a.m., with the Demolition Derby at 11:30 a.m. on Saturday — also a new day and time.

Also showcased at this year’s event is the Open Air Peanut Lounge, which includes a full stage with sound, lights and seating for guests to enjoy a meal or watch a show. Various performers will take the stage at the lounge, including live music from Suffolk school groups, local bands, solo musicians, dance groups, magic and the Peanut Fest Clogging Jamboree. Other attractions include a roller rink, concerts, Touch-a-Truck and a Tomahawk Toss.

The 2021 Peanut Fest is ready to jam with bands that will bring back everyone’s favorite hits from the 1980s.

The first act to take the main stage pays tribute to a true music icon. At 9 p.m. on Oct. 8, Chase & Ovation will take the stage with their celebration of the music of Prince. The lead, Tommy Chase, has done numerous performances with members of Prince’s band and is known for his accurate representation of the late singer.

On Oct. 9, a whole lineup of bands are ready to party like it’s 1989. Starting the day at 2:30 p.m. is Gone Country, who will bring the best of 1980s country music. The next act at 4:40 p.m. is a tribute to the band Earth, Wind & Fire.

To fill any fan-favorite gaps, at 7 p.m. Deja will play all the favorites from the 1980s. In one concert, folks will get all their favorites from Aerosmith’s “Dream On” to Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody” and more, including iconic songs from Led Zeppelin, Pink Floyd, Styx, Kansas, The Who, Genesis and Rush. Finishing out the night is a tribute to one more icon from the 1908s at 9 p.m. with Yellow Brick Road: A Tribute to Elton John.

The jams continue through Sunday at 2:30 p.m. with The Deloreans in their dynamic ’80s costumes followed by Frontiers: The Ultimate Journey Tribute Band at 5 p.m.

Other bands will take the smaller stages, too, throughout the weekend with performances from JuJu Drum featuring Kyra LaVonne, Luke Willette Band, Magical Princess Sing-Along, Griffin Lane and Rob Oliver.

This year’s Peanut Fest promises to pack a big punch in people’s palates, but with fewer food vendors.

And one new vendor is sure to stand out — the Virginia Diner in Wakefield. It will be bringing its own food truck to the event and offering its fare of fried chicken, barbecue and more.

Besides the entertainment, food and music that accompany this year’s 80’s theme, a plethora of exhibitors and merchants, arts and crafters and outside exhibitors will be at the festival. They run the gamut of businesses, organizations and individuals.

Highlighting a few among the many, Earles was excited about many of the vendors coming.

Benson Alpaca Meadows, off of Mineral Spring Road, is coming and is expected to give a shearing demonstration, while Birdsong Peanuts is a returning vendor that will be showcasing the city’s agricultural heritage. Tomahawk Toss, also based off of Mineral Spring Road and serving the greater Hampton Roads area, will have knife, ax and spear throwing within its own contained unit.

Lots of other exhibits and activities including the carnival midway featuring rides, games and food, arts and crafts, monster truck rides, a petting zoo, pony rides, a family area and more will be on site.

The event takes place at the Suffolk Executive Airport, 1200 Gene Bolton Drive, Suffolk.

The festival will be open from 10 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 8; 9 a.m. to 11 p.m. Oct. 9; and 10 a.m. to 7 p.m. Oct. 10.

Tickets are $10 per person, per entry. Children 10 and under are free. Three-day passes are available for $20 per person. Sunday is Military Appreciation Day — admission is $5 per person with proper military identification.

For more information on the festival and the full schedule of performances and more, visit www.suffolkpeanutfest.com or email info@suffolkfest.org.