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Jan Harrell and Mr. Peanut visit during the Virginia Peanut Festival Kook Off-Kick Off.

How many ways can you prepare a dish using a peanut?

It’s unlikely that question will be answered between 6 p.m. and 8 p.m. Thursday during the Kook-Off Kick-Off at the Emporia Farmers Market, but there is a pretty good chance those attending the event will discover a few dishes they have never heard of, and for $5 you have the opportunity to purchase a tasting kit and sample dozen so peanut-based treats and entrees.

“It is held each year at the start of the Virginia Peanut Festival on Thursday evening and is the official opening of the Virginia Peanut Festival weekend, Executive Director of the Emporia-Greensville Chamber of Commerce Nancy Rose said. It is always held at the Emporia Farmers Market in the center of everything happening.”

Prizes will be awarded in several categories for the peanut-based dishes. The judging is done by those purchasing the tasting kits.

The Emporia Farmers Market will be full of contestants, as well as others putting their taste buds to work in an ever so important role of choosing the top dishes and recognizing those preparing the peanut-based treats.

Just a stone’s throw across the street will find plenty of children kicking off the Virginia Peanut Festival, getting their hands on treats that have nothing to do with the peanut. Ahh yes. Funnel cakes and cotton candy are always a big hit at the carnival, which gets underway at 6 p.m. The Ferris wheel and other carnival rides will keep the youth entertained.

A carnival may not be to your liking, but chances are you will find something that piques your interest during the four-day Virginia Peanut Festival. There is a parade, live music throughout the weekend, cultural displays, the Meherrin and Nottoway of Virginia Indian Tribes a classic car show, food vendors, peanut farm tour, duck race, a Greensville Junior Rescue Squad Pancake Breakfast Saturday morning along with the YMCA 5-10K Fun Walk Run at the YMCA.

There will be plenty of time to check out some of the featured attractions of the 57th annual Virginia Peanut Festival, but it’s the Kick-Off Kook-Off that officially signals the Emporia-Greensville community’s celebration of the Virginia Peanut.