Grapeland has a history steeped in festivals. During the early 1900’s the community celebrated with Possum Walks and Turkey Trots as well as the North Houston County fair. But by the 1940’s, interest had waned for the fair and folks were looking for a new way to kick up their heels. Peanuts had recently taken over as the main agriculture crop in the area and so naturally the citizens of Grapeland decided a fall harvest celebration would be appropriate for the community.
September 27, 1945 was the selected date for the first Goober Carnival. During a kick-off banquet of peanut dishes, attendees voted by secret ballot their choice for Grapeland’s first Peanut Queen. Grapeland High School sophomore Frankie Lois Pennington of Percilla was chosen. (Mr. Sam Hill was chosen as King Peanut.)
The Peanut Pageant has evolved over time. Currently, Grapeland High School young ladies enrolled in their senior year are allowed to participate in the coronation. Each contestant presents a talent, judged essay, business presentation, physical fitness routine and evening wear. A panel of three judges decides on the winner and runners-up. Participants must volunteer three hours within the community before any are allowed to be a part of coronation events. The Chamber or Commerce hosts the pageant and gives scholarships of varying amounts to the girls.
The event is held each fall in the Lorena Shultz Auditorium at the Grapeland Junior High School as it has been for many years and is the accumulation of a weekend filled with activities and celebrations.