Festival season continues this week with the granddaddy of them all: the Peanut Festival. This will be the 54th edition of the celebration of the importance of farming to local communities.

Whitesboro Area Chamber of Commerce Executive Director La Donna Milner said this year is shaping up to be one of the best festivals ever.

The fun will start at 8 a.m. and continue through 4 p.m. and will offer everything a great fall festival should including lots of food, shopping, fun and games, a carnival and two stages worth of entertainment of various kinds.

“There no big changes this year, we are just concentrating on the returning favorites,” Milner said.

She said one of the biggest parts of the annual event is the parade. Line up for the parade begins at 8 a.m. and judging will start at 9 a.m. Then the parade starts at 10 a.m.

Those who don’t feel like fighting to find a place to park in downtown Whitesboro can take the park and ride option by parking at either the high school or the middle school.

Milner said the two shuttle buses will let people off just west of the festival near the police stations or Easy Mart. They will also pick people up in that location and take them back to their vehicles.

Once downtown, she said, there are lots of things for people to do including the carnival that will actually start on Thursday night and run through Saturday.

The children, she said, always love the carnival with all of the lights and the sounds. It really livens up the downtown during the week before the festival.

“It will be there behind the stores on Main Street,” Milner said.

In addition, there will be a tractor exhibit, a kid alley and a food court.

And, of course, there will be vendor booths that line the street which will offer festival goers the opportunity to get a jump start on their holiday shopping. She said there will, in fact, be more than 200 booths and displays this year. Several of those booths, she said, will offer fresh roasted peanuts. Milner said the event won’t feature any awards for peanut farming like it did in the past, but the focus in still on the area’s rural heritage.

That focus, however, is also on the community aspect of the rural community. The Peanut Festival is, many people say, as much an area wide reunion as anything else.