DOTHAN, ALABAMA — The 75th annual Miss National Peanut Festival Pageant was Oct. 5 and 6 in the Dothan Civic Center in Alabama. For the first time in the pageant's history, Okaloosa County sent a representative to compete in the two-day event.
Miss Okaloosa County, Skylar Babin, is the 19-year-old daughter of Destin residents Nancy and Shane Babin.
During the Friday evening preliminaries, Skylar competed with a field of 38 representatives from Georgia, Alabama, and Florida. She had two rounds of interviews with the five-judge panel, had two on-stage questions and a word category. Judges assessed her and other contestants' competition writings on topic contents, grammar, and spelling; an extensive Peanut Knowledge test, a verbal “commercial” for Okaloosa County, and a verbal summary about themselves.
On Friday, Babin placed in the top 5 for Evening Gown, Verbal, Written, and Peanut Knowledge categories.
During the finals on Saturday, she placed in the top 10 semi-finalists, and then the top 5 finalists. She was awarded winner in the Written Communication and Peanut Knowledge categories.
She won two cash scholarships, a silver tray, crystal vase, and Peanut trophy.
As Miss Okaloosa County, Babin and her sister queens will have their own float for the 75th Annual National Peanut Festival Parade Nov. 10 in downtown Dothan. Her sister queens are Toddler Miss Okaloosa County Ellie Eger of Crestview; Tiny Miss Okaloosa County Evey Rivera of Crestview; Junior Miss Okaloosa County Kadance Fredericksen of Crestview; and Teen Miss Riley Herrington, who is dually enrolled in Freeport High School and Northwest Florida State College.
History of the National Peanut Festival
The 2018 National Peanut Festival Fair is Nov. 2-11. The nation's largest peanut festival, the NPF is held in Dothan, Alabama each fall to honor Georgia, Florida and Alabama peanut farmers and to celebrate the harvest season. Dothan is known as the "Peanut Capital of the World" and is a prime location for growing
peanuts. The majority of all the peanuts grown in the United States are grown within a 100-mile radius
Okaloosa County peanut production
According to Okaloosa County Extension Agent Jennifer Bearden, over 3,000 acres of land in Okaloosa
County are planted in peanuts, resulting in yields of 29 million pounds of peanuts annually. The
panhandle of Florida produces enough peanuts annually to place Florida among the top three peanut
producing states in our country. Average crop yields are 2.5 to 3 tons per acre. Bearden says most of Okaloosa's peanuts are bought to make snack cakes, peanut butter, and peanut candies.