Houston County’s biggest event each year is the Grapeland Peanut Festival, a fun-filled day of activities taking place throughout Grapeland.
Free Admission Into The PARK
The carnival rides are a favorite for kids of all ages and those who are kids at heart. The carnival opens on Thursday evening at 6:00 pm with Family Night In The Park. Wrist bands may be purchased for $20 per person that allow unlimited rides all evening.
Saturday morning the festivities kick off with a parade downtown at 10:00 am. Old tractors, old cars, horses, and Peanut Queen contestants on elaborate floats are just a few of the things you will see in the parade.
Following the parade all the action moves down to City Park. There you will find vendors selling all types of items. Whatever you are looking for from arts and crafts one-of-a-kind to the out of the ordinary to clothing and jewelry it is sure to be found.
After you have worked up an appetite shopping in the vendor booth area it is time to head over to the food vendors for some festival food. Everyone is certain to find something to suit their fancy. In fact the hardest part is making a choice.
Enjoy plenty of live music throughout the day. Various groups, singers, and musicians perform throughout the day.
In the evening the weekend’s festivities move to the school auditorium for the annual Peanut Queen contest and coronation. The competition is open to high school senior girls who are judged in the categories of Business Wear, Physical Fitness, Talent, and Evening Gown. The winner, first runner up, and second runner up receive scholarships. The Peanut Queen represents Grapeland at various events throughout the year.
History of the Peanut Festival
For the first six years of its life, Grapeland’s Peanut Festival was known and nurtured as the annual “Goober Carnival.”
The Goober Carnival celebration was born in 1945, the year that “our armed forces won their first victory against the Axis Powers.” A group of enterprising community leaders saw the need for a harvest celebration in which our new and old citizens, our friends of neighboring towns and such could gather for fellowship, entertainment and general promotion of our town. The first annual Goober Carnival attracted visitors from many points in East Texas with festivities opening Thursday September 27, 1945, with a peanut dinner in the school recreation hall attended by 400 people. Marvin Watson, president of the Chamber of Commerce, presided. Victor Schoffelmayer, agricultural and science editor of the Dallas News, was principal speaker of the evening. Feature entertainment was by the Stamps Quartet of Dallas which had an estimated audience of 2,000. Miss Frankie Lois Richardson of Percilla was selected by secret ballot to be queen of the festivities.
The queen’s coronation was the next evening with Miss Richardson and Sam Hill ascending the throne as the first King and Queen of the Goober Carnival. It was scheduled to be held downtown but a drenching rain forced it to be moved to the school recreation hall. A pageant entertained their royalties. Harry Bush of Percilla received the $25.00 cash premium for bringing the biggest load of peanuts into Grapeland that day. In 1951, both the name and sponsorship of the festival changed. The VFW and Ladies Auxiliary assumed the sponsor’s role as the fund raiser for building a VFW Hall and from that day forward the event has been known as the Peanut Festival. In 1963, the Grapeland Community Council became the festival sponsor. In 2002 after 39 years, the Grapeland Community Council ceased to exist; now the Grapeland Chamber of Commerce has again taken the reigns. 60 years later The Peanut Festival has come full circle.