By Laurie Stone
With 62 days left until the Christmas holiday, shoppers made a point to attend the 31st annual Peanut Valley Festival hoping to find gifts from the arts, crafts and jewelry vendors which dominated the festival.
The event is held each year to honor the Llano Estacado peanut farmers in this area and has grown into an event that is enjoyed statewide.
This year’s Peanut Valley Festival was an enormous success according to Staci Fraley, organizer of the arts and craft vendors.
“I have 40 shows per year and this one is my favorite because I enjoy seeing the youth (college students) getting involved,” she said.
Roughly 114 vendors filled all three levels of the Campus Union Building along with food and games outside of the building on Saturday from 9:00 a.m to 6:30 p.m. at ENMU. The festivities will continue today from noon to 5:00 p.m.
“This event brings all kinds of new excitement to Portales, which is why I bring my family to come and check it out,” said Miguel Barrera of Portales.
Ralph Bishop of Estancia said his daughter Angela Bishop, an ENMU student, invited him to the festival. Leaving the building with two large bags filled with newly purchased treasures, Bishop said this was the best festival he has ever attended.
“I like it because the vendors don’t try and push their merchandise on you,” he said. “The prices are right and the people are very friendly.”
Cheree Bilberry is a vendor of Prairie Silver, sterling silver and accessories. She has no complaints with the turn out this year.
“It’s been pretty good so far,” she said.
Kelly Lunsford of Farwell attends the festival every year.
“I’m trying to find Christmas gifts for my family,” she said, “and I keep finding gifts for myself.”
According to Wanda Pettis of the Portales Woman’s Club, the Portales Chamber of Commerce created the Peanut Valley Festival to honor the local peanut farmers.
“They held the festival in different vacant buildings on the square until it became so popular, they had to start having them at ENMU because they have more space,” she said. “Now it’s better because it helps to promote ENMU.”