27th Annual Peanut Butter Festival Shines Light on History of Brundidge
Peanut butter sustained the city of Brundidge during the Great Depression in the 1930’s. Each year, residents hold its annual Peanut Butter Festival to celebrate the snack that had an impact on Brundidge’s economy.
Lawrence Bowden is the President of the Brundidge Historical Society.
“They started making peanut butter here in Brundidge in 1928. It was one of the first places, if not the first place, that made commercial peanut butter,”
Peanut butter was made continuously in the town until the 1960’s, after major peanut butter producers put the local manufacturers out of business.
“They lasted all through the war, years. they were some of the best years and way on into the ’50’s. They finally went out of business because they couldn’t compete with some of the bigger ones,” Bowden said.
Louise Henderson has come to the festival since its beginning. She remembers what it was like in those early years.
“It was just a few things to begin with. And to be remembered, the company that started it and how they worked so hard for it with all the patents and everything. It’s a lot of history here.”
Some of the festival traditions are stiill around, like the annual Peanut Butter Parade, people selling peanut butter related items, and kids attractions. There have been many changes in Brundidge, but one thing that has not changed is the peanut butter legacy:
“Peanut butter is just a part of everybody’s life,” Reverend Ed Shirley said. “And it’s just a reason to celebrate it.”
Those peanut butter mills have long since shut down, but Brundidge Mayor Isabel Boyd says they are a reminder of what used to be.
“The importance of having this is to let people know exactly where we come from and how far we’ve come,” Boyd said.
Brundidge had two of the earliest peanut butter mills in the southeast: the Johnston Peanut Butter Mill in the downtown area, and the Louis-Anne Peanut Butter Company on the south edge of town.