Letohatchee native helps with World’s Largest Peanut Boil

By Haley Mitchell Godwin

Set to run from Aug. 31 to Sept. 5, the 52nd Annual Crenshaw County Alcazar Shrine Club’s World’s Largest Peanut Boil concluded with an early sellout around 4 p.m. Sunday. 

In total, 34 tons of peanuts were sold, with most of the nuts being boiled. Customers who prefer their peanuts parched also left the event satisfied. 

On Aug. 30, the peanuts were delivered to Luverne from Holland Farms in Milton, Florida. The first batch hit the water around 5:30 Wednesday morning, and the peanuts were bagged up and ready to sell by 10 a.m. 

The peanuts were boiled in five 10-foot-long boilers heated by propane. Each tank holds about 720 pounds of peanuts and 250 gallons of water. Two tons of salt were used throughout the peanut boil. 

Each year, the Shriners dedicate the peanut boil in honor of a deceased Alcazar Shrine Club member or member’s wife. This year’s event was in memory of Noble Ed Patterson and Past Potentate Al Smith.

Daniel Payne, Letohatchee native, and Alcazar Shriner, was on hand for peanut boil. Payne has been a Master Mason for almost 50 years as a member of the Fort Deposit Lodge #291 and is what the Shriners call a roadrunner. Payne drives sick children to the Shriners Children’s Hospital in Greenville, South Carolina. 

“We take the kids and their families to their doctor’s appointments,” Payne said. “We will stop for lunch and buy the family food. We take care of 100% of their transportation needs at no cost, including any overnight accommodations.  We now have rooms available at the hospital where parents can stay. When they are done, we drive them back home. 

“We have one of the best Shriners Children’s Hospitals in the world where we even have parents bringing their kids from overseas. Everybody that helps with this does it on a completely volunteer basis. No one gets paid, but if I can leave this world knowing I made the lives of a few kids better, then I will have reached my goal, and no compensation could be better than that.”

Samuel Little of Richmond, Virginia said he has been purchasing peanuts from the World’s Largest Peanut Boil for a decade now. 

“I was born on Labor Day, and about ten years ago, I learned about the peanut boil here in Luverne,” he said. My dad lives in the Pigeon Creek Community, just across the Crenshaw County line, and I always visit him on my birthday. I’ve always loved boiled peanuts, and I cannot get them in Virginia. So, dad and I have made this an annual trip.”

Crenshaw County Shrine Club President Andy Compton thanked the devoted volunteers and patrons, and Crenshaw County citizens for once again making the 52nd annual peanut boil an overwhelming success. 

“Everything went pretty much as usual,” Compton said. “The line was not extremely long when we took up the first batch Wednesday morning, but it was wide open once people figured out we had gotten things underway. On Thursday and Friday, we got to the point where people stood in line for as long as four hours, missing out when a batch sold out and staying in line until the next round was ready. I sure appreciate all those that braved the heat in those lines and everyone that helped. 

“Last year, COVID took a dent in our volunteers, but numbers were back up this year. I want to thank the Luverne High School FBLA for helping, all of the other volunteers, and the members of the community for their continued support. We look forward to seeing everyone again around Labor Day next year.”

Part of the Shriners International mission is to “serve mankind through the resources of its philanthropy, Shriners Childrens” and “to change and improve lives”. The Crenshaw County Alcazar Shrine Club is a branch of the Alcazar Shriners of Montgomery. These groups work together to support Shriners International and to raise funds for the Shriners Children’s Hospital through events like the annual peanut boil held in Luverne. 

More information on the World’s Largest Peanut Boil and updates on next year’s event can be found on the Crenshaw County Alcazar Shrine Club’s World’s Largest Peanut Boil Facebook page.