Celebrating Agriculture enjoyed record turnout
by David Broyles Staff Reporter
DOBSON — Official estimates are in confirming last weekend’s Celebrating Agriculture set a record for attendance. Extension Agent Joanna Radford said the County Parks and Recreation Department estimated about 4,300 persons participated in the event.
She also announced the winners in an Antique and Classic Farm Tractor Show. First place went to Brent Hull who won $300 with his 1964 Case Model 730 Grove tractor. Charles Neal won the $200 second place prize with a Farmall tractor and Wesley Johnson’s John Deere finished third with a $100 prize.
This year’s dignitary challenge was won by a team composed of the North Surry High School Future Farmer’s of America (FFA) organization. Radford said this group included Greyhound alumni as well as FFA officers. This year participants in the challenge had to shake ping pong balls out of empty tissue boxes worn backwards like aprons. The “laying hens” challenge winning team members were Jasmine Johnson, Bailey Holderfield and Jim Radford.
“The weather cooperated, it couldn’t have been more beautiful,” commented Radford, who saw her group’s efforts last year stalled by a rainstorm. “The 4-H (craft) tents did really well this year. Our duck tape station showing uses for this was wildly popular. Farms, you know, use a lot of duct tape. This tape comes in a lot of colors now and It was a runaway hit.”
Radford said the educational stations teaching about aspects of farming such as drip irrigation were well attended.
“I was excited about the educational opportunities this year,” Radford said. “It (the event) has been more geared towards fun activities for children in the past but this year we tried to do a little more for the adult participants as well.”
Another tradition of the celebration is having local farmers stand on stage and be introduced at the end of the event. Radford said about 20 participated in this and were given lighted key chains with the phrase “It all starts with a farmer” on them as a token of appreciation.
“The Mayberry Squares did a great job of opening up the event this year,” said Radford. “They even got some to come down and try to square dance which was truly neat. We feel we were able to show a lot about agriculture again this year and I think the attendance proves we are getting the word out.”
Radford, who has been involved with the event since it began, said she did notice a marked difference this year among families participating.
“It seemed like the crowds of people used to stay all day before. Now I’m seeing folks who are visiting quickly and leaving because they have so much else to do in a day. We are on their list and that’s good but they seem so rushed. It could be a sign people are having to do so much more these days.
Reach David Broyles at email@example.com or 336-719-1952.
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