ENMU to host Peanut Valley Festival

By Casey Peacock: PNT Staff Writer

Beginning Saturday, Eastern New Mexico University will host the 33rd annual Peanut Valley Festival, with a wide range of crafts, food and entertainment available on campus.

“Just name it and we’re going to have it,” said Alex Hamzy, promoter of On the Road Ranch Shows, which is handling publicity for the event.
Hosted by the ENMU Office of Student Activities and Organizations, the festival is a community-oriented event, said Jeff Blake, interim director of Student Activities and Organizations.

Admission to the event, which runs from 9 a.m. to 6:30 p.m. on Saturday and noon to 5 p.m. on Sunday, is free.

Most activities will be inside the Campus Union Building, with food vendors outside. There will be a health fair in the adjacent College of Business building.

The festival is also a way to raise funds for the Peanut Valley Scholarship that helps pay for tuition and fees for students who are on the student activities board, said Blake.

About 100 vendors are expected to participate in the festival, coming from around the country as well as the local area, said Hamzy.

“We have focused on getting local vendors in,” Hamzy said. “They are our first priority.”

Several varieties of food booths and entertainment will be provided throughout the festival, said Blake. The NA-TA-RAJA belly dancers will provide entertainment in the Ground Zero Coffeeshop, and acoustic guitarist Braxton Taylor will also play at the festival, said Blake.

During the day, Celtic musician Rhomylly Forbes will stroll through the crowd and the food court providing music, said Blake.

The Portales Women’s Club will be on hand to sell peanuts and peanut products from itsbooth, said Betsy Chavez, a festival chairperson.

On board with the festival since it was held at city park, the club will use its profit in various ways. The Women’s Club owns its building and part of the profit will be used for upkeep, said Chavez.

“Besides our home improvements, we also give to natural disasters, like Katrina,” said Chavez. “This is our second-highest (money generating) fund-raiser, next to Women’s Day Out.”

Approximately 30 agencies will be on hand at the health fair to provide services such as blood pressure check, speech and hearing screening and chiropractic screenings, said Portales Health Office nurse manager Carol Morgan. Flu shots will be available to those who qualify, said Morgan.

“We plan on giving 300 or more flu shots,” she said.