Ruth Sanders helps to organize the Peanut Festival. She's the head of the Plains Better Hometown Program.
Rev. Charles Crabbe of Homer, Georgia brought some of the seniors in his congregation to Plains.
Joyce Grant of Kelly's Tours in Savannah brought a group over to see Plains.
PLAINS, GA (WALB) -
South Georgia has a lot of festivals every year and one of the most popular is the Peanut Festival in Plains. Thousands of people will come from around the nation to the small Sumter County town.
But what makes the festival so popular?
The crowds are already gathering in Plains this afternoon. By tomorrow this city of 800 in Sumter County will quadruple in size. How many people are they expecting to be here?
Ruth Sanders, the President of the Plains Better Hometown program says that they're expecting at least 2000 people to attend the weekend's events.
It's time for the Peanut Festival again. All the people who will be in town to celebrate the humble nut means plenty of business for Plains merchants. But this isn't the only time of the year that these sidewalks are full. A tour bus from Savannah made the trip over today.
Joyce Grant of Kelly's Tours said, "they just love to come to this little small town, do a little shopping, we do a tour."
And no matter what time of the year their busses come here, one thing is certain.
"The buses hold 56 people and normally they're almost always filled," said Grant.
The peanuts are the star of this weekend's show, but this group of tourists on today's SAM Shortline train was drawn here by this city's most famous son.
Rev. Charles Crabbe of Homer, Georgia was leading a group of seniors from his church. He said, "I think they enjoyed his presidency, enjoyed watching him run...good old Georgia boy."
The presence of President Carter draws many people here throughout the year.
Sanders said, "he is so good to us and to this area, and people love President Carter."
But his legacy makes the event that will take place here larger than it would be otherwise.
"Because he's so available that day - he's here," said Sanders.
It's been more than 30 years since President Carter was in office, and many of these tourists are among those who remember him while he was President. But not all of them.
Joyce Grant said, "we've done several school trips and we do bring the kids as well as the adults."
Over time, the President's legacy has been enhanced by his writing and his works. And many people here think that the history books will remember him kindly, even if his time in office was a trying one for the nation.
Nancy Need of Rochester, Michigan said, "sometimes I think a candidate or a president's legacy is dependent on the parents and the teachers."
That legacy will keep people coming here for many years to come.
The weekend events started Friday night with a dance along Main Street. There are more events Saturday and it all ends on Sunday with President Carter teaching Sunday School.
For a complete listing of the events, you can click here.