Cushioned by a sandy pine straw bed, and protected by shade, the Abbey Nature Preserve, with scenic views of the Mill Pond, pine thicket trails are the routes runners will follow during Poplar Grove Plantation’s third annual Peanut 5k Fun Run/Walk at 8 a.m. on March 24 at the Poplar Grove Plantation.
“It’s a beautiful course,” said Felicia Greene, tour director for Poplar Grove Plantation. “It’s easy on the joints. There’s lots of pine straw back there.”
Last year, close to 200 people registered for the event, which raised approximately $8,000.
Proceeds benefit Poplar Grove Plantation and will be divided between two projects, refurbishing the plantation’s Manor House and beginning new educational programs for K-12.
“We had a really fun mix of runners last year,” Greene said. “We had several members of the Topsail High School cross-country team. They obviously finished the race before everybody else. Some Marines from Camp Lejeune came down, and we also had a whole bunch of ladies in the 40- to 50-year-old age bracket, some of whom had never run a 5k before.”
Following the race, Poplar Grove Plantation staff will raffle prizes and provide medals to the top three finishers in each age bracket made by the plantation’s on-site blacksmith, Joshua Haller.
“[Haller] makes anything under the sun. S-hooks, knives, beautiful roses with petals made from copper sheet,” Greene said. “He makes a little bit of everything. He’s very talented.”
Poplar Grove Plantation is the largest peanut plantation in the country, and one of the oldest existing peanut plantations in the state of North Carolina. The Foy family purchased the land in 1795, and Manor House was built in 1850. The house and property remained in the family until the 1970s. It was opened as a museum in 1980.
“We cover a lot of history,” Greene said. “Fortunately, the Foys were packrats.”
This will be the third year the plantation has hosted the event, and the first year it will be taking place in the spring. Previously held in September, the change in time of year was made to coordinate it with the Poplar Grove Herb and Garden Fair, the area’s biggest and longest-running gardening event.
Greene estimated around 80 vendors would be on the plantation’s front and back lawns March 23-24 selling “anything and everything you could possibly need for your garden.”
Admission to the event is $30, and includes the price of a T-shirt while supplies last. Priority for T-shirts goes to those who register early. Potential runners can register online at poplargrove.com.