In an Unannounced Outing, Carters Attend Plains Festival

Former first couple take a ride through a hometown event
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 23, 2023 5:15 PM CDT
In an Unannounced Outing, Carters Attend Plains Festival
In 2014, former President Jimmy Carter and former first lady Rosalynn Carter dance on Main Street during the 18th annual Plains Peanut Festival.   (AP Photo/Atlanta Journal-Constitution, Curtis Compton)

Jimmy and Rosalynn Carter are in rapidly declining health, their family has said. But that didn't keep the former president and first lady from attending a major local event on a pleasant day. The famous residents of Plains, Georgia, rolled slowly through the town's annual Peanut Festival in an SUV on Saturday, NBC News reports. The Carter Center confirmed online that was the Carters in the vehicle, per the Hill, and reposted a video here. "Beautiful day for President & Mrs. Carter to enjoy a ride through the Plains Peanut Festival!" the center's post said. "And just a week before he turns 99."

Festivalgoers could be seen along the street as the Carters passed. The video was taken by Erikka Bettis Williams, who told CNN there had been no word that the Carters would attend. The couple has been staying home, their grandson said, since the former president entered hospice care early this year. Jimmy Carter turns 99 on Oct. 1, and Rosalynn Carter is 96. "Total surprise! The crowd was sort of slow to react at first because they didn't realize they were there," Williams said. "It was such a great surprise and yes, we sang 'Happy Birthday'!" (More Jimmy Carter stories.)

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