SANTA ROSA COUNTY, Fla. (WKRG) — The Jay Peanut Festival in Santa Rosa County has been cancelled for 2022 due to lingering storm damage and a death in the family. That’s according to a Facebook post Friday morning from the Jay Peanut Festival.
The festival has been around since 1990 created in honor of the owner’s daughter, Melissa Gabbert, who passed away from cancer when she was just 19-years-old. The festival has occurred every single year since through “rain or shine” until COVID-19 canceled the event in 2020. Now, the 2022 festival will not happen because of damages to the farm from tropical weather and the death of Eugene Emil Gabbert, who was responsible for several jobs at the farm and festival.
“We tried to plan the Peanut Festival before he [Eugene] died, but we could not,” read the post. The entire Gabbert family tested positive for COVID-19 in early August of 2021.
“We [the Gabbert family] were all too sick to do the work needed to prepare for the Peanut Festival and we could not find others to do the work, etc.,” read the post.
Eugene Gabbert was the “electrician, mechanic, carpenter and handyman,” according to the post and the family could not get enough help to “even hire works to repair [the] farm damages that are needed to have the Peanut Festival.”
According to the post, the family will be reaching out to all its vendors from the 2022 festival that are owed money.
Brenda Joyce Gabbert, the widow of Eugene, said she has “not given up on having another Peanut Festival, but not this year.”