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"We are Nutty About America"
Special Events
  The Queen’s Banquet at 7:00 PM (doors open at 6:00 PM)
  • Located at the Hilton Garden Inn Riverfront, 100 E. Constance Road 
  • Sponsored by: Planters A division of Kraft Foods Global, Inc. and Sports Medicine & Orthopedic Center
  • Produced by: The Pilot Club of Suffolk
  • Since 1941, the peanut festivities have included an array of pageantry and the coronation of a queen and her court. The first "Queen Arachis Hypogea" (the botanical name for the peanut plant), Olive Cawley from New Jersey, was attired in an all-peanut gown, and her entourage included 50 princesses from dozens of communities and neighboring states.

    The second festival queen, Patricia Donnelly of Detroit, had been the 1939 Miss America. She was greeted at the airport by dignitaries including Amedeo Obici, who scattered roasted peanuts at her feet rather than the traditional rose petals.

    The modern predecessor of today's festival, Harvest Fest, was started in 1978, and the festival queen was voted by the general public. Since then, the title has been bestowed to scores of young ladies, along with the task of representing the festival and the City of Suffolk and an array of activities.

    Today's festival queen is selected from among rising high school seniors that are evaluated by a panel based on four criteria: a creative writing essay; school activities; awards and achievements; and community involvement. The Queen and her Court will be reconized at a Banquet produced by the Pilot Club of Suffolk.

    Tickets are $30 per person. For ticket availability, call the Suffolk Visitor Center at 757-514-4130.
 Saturday, October 3rd at 10:00 AM - City of Suffolk Peanut Fest Parade Downtown Suffolk 
    Sponsored by: McDonald's and SunTrust Bank
Friday, October 9th at 6:00 PM - Nation-Wide Demolition Derby
  • Located on the Festival Grounds
  • Sponsored by: General Rental Center 
  • Produced by: Nation-Wide Demolition Derby

A festival tradition, the Friday night demolition derby is an exciting, wows, bangs and booms good time. The idea of demolition derbies was conceived some 45 years ago by a 28-year-old stock car driver named Larry Mendelsohn. He staged the first demo derby at Islip Speedway (Long Island) in 1958. Intrigued how spectators were brought to the edge of their seats by the crashes of stock car racing, Mendelsohn produced a spectacular event of nothing but crashing and banging, and the now popular demolition derby was born.

Today, Nation-Wide Demolition Derby has staged over 2,000 contests from coast to coast and border to boarder. Over 18 million fans have been entertained and 200,000 cars have been destroyed. The derbies involve local drivers that compete in their own automobiles that have been modified to provide safety precautions. Participants battle one another in compact and full-size auto heats until the last one running is cheered as champion.

For full contest rules, see Applications & Entry Forms.

Saturday, October 10th at 12:30 PM  Peanut Fest 250 Mini Truck and Tractor Pull
  • Located in the Arena Area
Sunday, October 11th at 10:30 AM - Suffolk Swamp Roar Motorcycle Rally
  • Located on the Festival Grounds
  • Sponsored by: Suffolk Division of Tourism, Lipton and the Motorcycle Grand Tour of Virginia

Begun as a separate activity in 2002, the “Suffolk Swamp Roar” became one of the festival’s official special events in 2003. Hundreds of motorcycle enthusiasts trek the scenic 80-mile perimeter ‘of the Great Dismal Swamp National Refuge,

Raising awareness and funds to benefit interpretive and educational programs and habitat restoration within the Great Dismal Swamp NWR.

This year’s 14th annual motorcycle rally hits the road Sunday, October 11th, at 10:30 a.m. from the festival grounds. Staging of the bikes begins at 9:00 a.m., and the group returns with a grand parade of motorcycles on the Mid-Way about 1:00 p.m.

$20 donation per person includes event tee-shirt, door prizes and post-ride reception. For registration flyer, see Applications & Entry Forms. For more information, contact the Suffolk Visitor Center at 757-514-4130 or 866-SEE-SUFK toll free.


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