Carters make surprise appearance at 26th Annual Peanut Festival

This is the Carter's first public appearance in more than seven months.
Published: Sep. 23, 2023 at 7:29 PM EDT|Updated: Sep. 25, 2023 at 11:22 AM EDT
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PLAINS, Ga. (WALB) - Former President Jimmy Carter and first lady Rosalynn Carter made their first public appearance in more than seven months at the annual Plains Peanut Festival.

Plains is a town of less than 600 people. It’s typically pretty quiet, but on Saturday, the festival brought in a huge crowd and a surprise appearance from the Carters.

“Yes, I’ve attended before, but this one was more special because, in the later years and Jimmy Carter’s health, it’s best to see him when you can. It’s a blessing to be here because God blessed us to be around to see a lot of things in life,” Gerald Holley, a Plains resident said.

Many people said they could feel the kindness of everyone who attended the parade. The annual Peanut Festival not only highlights Georgia farmers but also the cash crop: peanuts.

“Absolutely wonderful, man, also seeing young people interested in like agriculture, farming and peanuts. It’s really heartwarming, of course, and of course, supporting local Georgia farmers is especially important,” Mason Mulrooney, part of Planters Peanutter based out of Austin, Minnesota, said.

One family started visiting Plains about a year ago and says they fell in love with the community and the Carters.

“It was amazing considering that he is in hospice care, and he is tough enough to come out here. In my opinion, he is one of the toughest men to serve as President, and he is my favorite,” Reed Elliotte, a Corbin, Kentucky resident, said.

“I think it’s so important for the kids to see just to me that’s just being good Americans, good humans, and I think President Carter is a great example of that. And so hopefully kids can really learn about him and just see how he grew up, and see that they can be anything that they want,” Larrietta Elliotte, Corbin, Kentucky resident, said.

Katie Chesebro is a part of the Peanut Mobile and reflects on the impact of growing peanuts. Many farmers can make a living off the crop because of the high demand.

“When you think of peanuts, it’s really easy to just think about something that grows in the ground, and you eat. The number of people that eat them every day, consume them every day, the number of people that make a living growing them,” she said.

For many, the Peanut Festival just wouldn’t be the same without the Carters. So Saturday’s appearance made it much more special.