Author’s Note: A long time ago, there was something called the peanut butter and jelly sandwich. If you have a child with peanut allergies, other parents will say to you: “Nobody was allergic to peanut butter when I was a kid”.
The simple but elegant lunch, consisting of peanut butter, jelly and two slices of bread, was once a staple of school cafeterias from coast to coast. But no more. As peanut allergies have risen in recent years, the old standby, as well as all peanut products, have become a scarcer sight in American schools.
Nobody knows for sure what is causing the increase in peanut allergies, and the only real point of consensus is that the problem is getting worse. After barely meriting a word in medical literature before the 1980s, incidents of peanuts allergies began to creep up in the 1990s. Now allergy to peanuts and tree nuts is the leading cause of fatal allergic reactions in North America.
One thing is for sure this event would never happen today.
However, let’s go back in the 50’s to where various Lion’s Club throughout Lanark County celebrated Peanut Day. This was from the 1953 Almonte Gazette.
SATURDAY PARADE TO CLOSE PEANUT WEEK– August 1953, Almonte, Ontario
This has been Planters Peanut Week, sponsored each year in Almonte by the Lions Club. The share of the sales taken by the Club is devoted to the various public spirited endeavors carried on by this fine local organization.
The girls started their sales campaign last Friday, selling cans of peanuts put up by Planter’s. They carried on over the week-end and through the week, and on Saturday there will be a tag day with the nuts being sold in five cent packets. Cash prizes will be given for those who sell the most and the one who hits the top will be crowned Peanut Queen and will ride on the Planter’s Company’s float which will take part in the Saturday parade with several “Mr. Peanuts” bowing to the crowd as the float passes along.
The parade will start from the Community Centre at 4.30. This year it was thought well to restrict it to decorated tricycles and bicycles, which means that only the youngsters will take part. One reason for this is that the local firms and businessmen were asked to go to considerable trouble on Coronation Day in June.
ANNUAL PEANUT DAY ALMONTE August 1953-Almonte Gazette-Is your name here?
Miss Karen Paupst, daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Karl Paupst, received the Queen’s crown as Miss Almonte from the hands of Mayor Geo. M. Dunfield on Saturday afternoon at the Almonte Community Centre. Karen was the winner in the annual Planters Peanut contest sponsored by the Almonte Lions Club.
Her sales amounted to $166, and she also received a cash prize and the coveted privilege of taking the Queen’s place attired in fine regalia in the Planters float as it led the parade through the town.
Other winners were Audrey Southwell and Miss Iris Guthrie (tied) and Marion Bolger. The winners of the best decorated bicycles and tricycles were: Girls, 1, Cairine Campbell; 2, Donna Boal; 3, Shirley Boal. Boys, 1, Artie Wilson; 2, Tommy Morrow; 3, Tommy Miller. Lion Harry McMullan,was chairman of the parade committee.
Wendy LeBlanc— I can clearly see in my mind’s eye Mr. Peanut at the corner of High and Bridge Streets by Gordon’s Store. Not sure of the year but definitely in the ’50s. We kids were thrilled to bits, but I now wonder how we knew about Mr. Peanut as none of us except Peggi Mace and Eddy Aiston had a TV until the ’60s.
Joann Voyce— I remember the parade with Mr Peanut on a float going up High Street. I might even have a picture of the float going past our house, I will look for it
Norma Ford-– I remember that as well. I had a blue Mr Peanut, I have no idea what happened to it, I remember it was about 10″ tall.