A stiff, cold wind welcomed the early risers to Whitesboro’s 48th annual Peanut Festival Saturday. The wind caused many to come to the town’s unofficial homecoming dressed in sweaters and jeans rather than the shorts and tees some are accustomed to wearing to enjoy the fall fun.

A stiff, cold wind welcomed the early risers to Whitesboro’s 48th annual Peanut Festival Saturday. The wind caused many to come to the town’s unofficial homecoming dressed in sweaters and jeans rather than the shorts and tees some are accustomed to wearing to enjoy the fall fun.


One little cheerleader said she wasn’t fond of the change. Maddie Luton, 8, said she much prefers the hotter Peanut Festivals. But she was excited to be with her cheerleading group sporting the maroon and white anyway. They were getting ready to walk in the parade with the older cheerleaders as the parade line up got under way.


A few blocks away, a 30-year resident of Whitesboro was tending his own Peanut Festival tradition. George Slavik said he has held a garage sale on Peanut Festival day, always the third Saturday of the month of October, for decades. He said when something brings 10,000 people to town and many of them walk right past your house on Main Street to get to the fun downtown, you might as well pick that day to host a garage sale. Garage sales are just Slavik’s hobby. The rest of the year, he designs theme parks.


Slavik wasn’t the only one selling something in Whitesboro Saturday. Both sides of Main Street were filled with booths at which visitors could find almost anything they wanted. And if, on the off chance they couldn’t find that sought after item in a booth, there was always the chance it could be found in one of Whitesboro’s Main Street shops like Lovejoy’s on Main Street.


Laurie Lovejoy Hilliard said Peanut Festival day "is our biggest day of the year." She agreed with Whitesboro Chamber of Commerce President Barbara Bailey who said, Peanut Festival day is to Whitesboro Main Street shop owners, what Black Friday is to other shops in the nation. Hilliard said the staff at Lovejoy’s was expecting to stay busy most of the day and had even put out some Christmas items to let shoppers get a sneak peak at what is coming soon. "My sister-in-law Lisa Lovejoy does the decorating," Hilliard said while people looked over a decorated tree near the shop’s front window. In the back of the shop, people ordered coffee from the soda fountain or cupcakes.


Bailey said the cold start was unusual for the festival but she didn’t expect it would keep people away for long. She said the festival always brings thousands of people to the town, and this year both local hotels were filled up and they didn’t have any spaces left for booths. "It is going to be that perfect Chamber of Commerce weather day," Bailey said as she rushed off to help find someone to introduce the city’s mayor to a crowd gathered around a stage behind the Chamber’s booth.


Larry Millson said he has been coming to the Peanut Festival for years, and this year’s was the coldest he could remember. Millson emceed the parade for folks as they watched the cheerleaders, bands and others fill Main Street with music and merriment. Once the parade finished, people went about the business of shopping or checking out the food vendors. Many stopped to buy raffle tickets at the Whitesboro Fire Department’s booth.


WFD Captain Joey Crawley said the Peanut Festival is the Department’s only fundraiser. He said they are blessed to have a city budget even though they are a volunteer department. He said part of the money collected Saturday would go to the Department’s savings to purchase a fire cart like the one Sherman FD has. The golf cart-like utility vehicle, which costs about $35,000, is very useful at scenes, Crawley said.


Elsewhere, classmates who haven’t seen each other in years stopped to talk in the street and people gathered outside the old white church on Main to try to remember how long it has been since anyone has been able to go inside. Bailey said the couple who bought the church are restoring it and they were selling tours on Saturday. The fun was set to continue all day Saturday then the planning for the 49th Peanut Festival will start up.