Story And Photos By Emily Key
Living in Alabama, we’re used to farmland, getting stuck behind tractors on the roadway and possibly cows running loose around town. What many are surprised to learn, however, is that Alabama is home to the “Peanut Capital of the World.”
Two hours south of Lee County, lies Dothan, Alabama. Approximately one-half of all the peanuts produced in the United States come out of a 100-mile radius surrounding Dothan. Cities that are “known” for something like this often erect some sort of insanely tall or large sculpture, such as the 30-foot tall pistachio in New Mexico, a 23-foot tall cuckoo clock in Ohio or the 27,000-pound ball of twine in Kansas. The Downtown Group, a non-profit coalition in Dothan, decided back in 2001 that the city needed something unique to revitalize the area and bring tourists in. The public art project, “Peanuts on Parade”, was born.
Why have one giant peanut when you can install more than 60 peanut sculptures around town, each designed and decorated to honor local businesses, services and prominent members of the community. Tabor Pest Control decorated its peanuts to look like a mouse and a cockroach. Krispy Kreme’s peanut is dressed up as an employee, with a box of donuts in his hands. The Brackin Paint and Supply peanut is ready for work, with his roller and a gallon of paint. The library has a teacher peanut reading to a class of little peanuts.
The city provides a map of the peanuts that can be found at the visitor center (be on the lookout for your first peanut there.). It was so much fun cruising around and having everyone in the car yelling that they saw one. “Turn around! Go back!” was yelled multiple times from the backseat drivers helping locate the peanuts. The children didn’t want to stop, even as darkness began hiding the nuts from us. The map also will direct you to multiple — 19 in all — murals spread about the city. Families can have a blast treating these peanuts and murals as a whole scavenger hunt during a stay in Dothan.