No Pork, Peanut, Pine Festival for 2019

Published 5:13 pm Monday, December 24, 2018

Declining attendance a factor in decision

By Diana McFarland

Managing editor

SURRY — Pork, Peanut and Pine Festival organizers have folded up the tents for 2019 and are taking a wait-and-see attitude for the future.

Kenny Pittman, who has recently resigned as PPP Board chairman, said the two days of rain this year caused a steep decline in attendance.

Subscribe to our free email newsletter

Get the latest news sent to your inbox

There were more workers than festivalgoers, he said. 

The PPP, held at Chippokes Plantation State Park, marked its 44th year in July.{mprestriction ids=”1,2,3,4,5,6″}

The two-day celebration drew about 1,300 attendees this year, whereas the normal attendance is about 6,500 according to organizers’ estimates.  

The festival, which celebrates Surry County’s cash crops of timber, pork and peanuts, is held the third weekend in July. Typically, the weather is on the hot and humid side. 

Pittman said the July date was chosen because that was an idle time for farmers.

Today, Pittman notes that there are few pig and peanut farmers and many of the large stands of timber are gone. 

Pittman said it’s likely the festival, as it stands today, has run its course.

“I think things have just played out,” he said. 

The festival has several traditions, such as Little Mr. and Miss Peanut, the Saturday parade, arts and crafts vendors, a food court featuring peanut and pork products, artisan displays, as well as live music.  

A more notorious side of that particular weekend was an annual gathering of boaters in Cobham Bay, where until a few years ago arrests were common.

In recent years, however, law enforcement officers have clamped down on the festivities and attendance there has also decreased, said Pittman, adding that the activities there did not have a bearing on the decision to end the festival. 

The festival began in 1976 as Surry County’s bicentennial project.

Pittman doesn’t know what will come of the festival after 2019. 

Maybe it’s time for a re-invention, he said.  {/mprestriction}