Step right up, folks, and take in the sights of Black Jack the Giant Steer and Hercules the Giant Horse. Or, sneak a peek at the World’s Smallest Horse, but don’t touch — he bites.
You can see it all for only a couple of dollars.
It just wouldn’t be a carnival without the oddities of the world on hand. And the 66th National Peanut Festival certainly has it’s share of the unusual. The festival continues through Sunday.
“I would say he’s at least 1,500 to 2,000 pounds heavier than he should be,” owner Rebecca Smith said of Black Jack, a Holstein-Chianina mixed steer who weighs 3,250 pounds and stands 6-foot, 4-inches tall.
Next door is Hercules, a Belgian horse that weighs about 2,800 pounds and stands 6-foot, 6-inches tall. Born in Wisconsin, the 10-year-old horse eats a bale of hay, 25 pounds of grain a day and drinks 25 gallons of water.
Along the midway, carnival worker Ray Ledetter mans a booth for Oreo — billed as the World’s Smallest Horse, smaller even than a dog. The miniature filipina may be smaller than some large dogs, but he still overshadows a chihuahua.
A sign over Oreo’s enclosure provides a warning — “I Bite.”
“He’s got personality,” Ledetter said. “He loves a bath, but he won’t stand still until I’m soaked.”
Farther around the midway is “Killer Snake,” featuring large pythons. Manned by Professor Laszlo, or Lee Kolozsy, the sideshow lures festivalgoers in with images of vicious snakes and newspaper stories of snakes eating people — all, Professor Laszlo said, taken from “reputable tabloids.” The large snakes are part of a bigger show of 50 snakes the Kolozsy circus family uses to entertain crowds. Kolozsys have been coming to the peanut festival since the 1960s.
“This is the third generation of my family to come to the peanut festival,” Professor Laszlo said.
It’s not just animals that make up some of the fair’s oddities. Take a walk through a three-room house built into a hollowed out California redwood. And next to the festival’s kiddie land of rides is a very large peanut.
Built for the National Peanut Board about eight years ago, the hydraulic peanut moves up and down on a custom trailer and stands 32 feet high when upright, National Peanut Festival President George Jeffcoat said. The peanut was driven around the country to promote peanuts and peanut growers. Originally a project that cost $2 million, the peanut had been dormant in a large warehouse in Georgia for at least the last three years.
When Jeffcoat, the representative for Alabama on the National Peanut Board, heard the national organization wanted to get rid of the peanut, the peanut festival put in a bid and bought it. The peanut will remain on display at the fairgrounds.
“We want it to be seen from the road,” Jeffcoat said. “We’ll have the biggest peanut in Dothan, and we want people to see it.”