What is a peanut festival without the Carters?

Former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter shocked and surprised their hometown of Plains Saturday by riding through the town’s annual peanut festival.

It is believed to be the first time that President Carter has been seen since in public at least since February, when his family announced that he was entering home hospice.

In May, the family revealed that 95-year-old Rosalynn Carter has dementia.

The appearance was unplanned and captured on X, formerly Twitter, by Erikka Williams and her daughter Charleigh, who attend the Peanut Festival annually from their home in Warner Robins. Charleigh won her school’s 7th-grade postcard competition.

“Can y’all see who is in this car?” Williams wrote. “God Bless Former President Jimmy Carter and Former First Lady Carter for making the #plainspeanutfestival parade this year!!! Happy early birthday to him!”

“It was a great feeling of pride and patriotism to see them,” Williams told The Atlanta Journal-Constitution. “The city of Plains loves these two. It goes beyond political affiliation. Everyone one there was glad to see them and we sang Happy Birthday.

Williams has a knack for capturing the Carters at the festival, as she also did in 2022, when Charleigh came in second in the postcard contest.

“The Carters made the day for the thousands of attendees at the Plains Peanut Festival,” said Jill Stuckey, superintendent of the National Park Service’s Jimmy Carter National Historic Site in Plains. “What a wonderful surprise for everyone.”

The appearance comes roughly a week before Jimmy Carter marks his 99th birthday on Oct. 1.

The Plains Peanut Festival, now in its 26th year, celebrates the region’s traditional peanut harvest and celebrates the former president and his wife.

Festivities throughout the day include entertainment, historical and educational displays and food vendors. Mr. Peanut officially led the festival parade.

“President and Mrs. Carter care deeply about their hometown and it’s great to see them feeling the love from their neighbors and friends in Plains,” said Paige Alexander, CEO of the Carter Center. “It’s always amazing what they will do for peanuts!”