DOBSON — Local folks can have a real seed-spitting, apple peeling, corn shucking good time at the sixth Celebrating Agriculture event on Saturday.
Final preparations are under way for the NC Cooperative Extension Services sixth showcase of local agriculture at Fisher River Park in Dobson. The celebration will be held from 3-8 p.m.
Among the new activities offered this year is the Potato Dig. Extension Agent Joanna Radford said the idea behind the activity is to teach children where potatoes come from. The dig is open to children and adults and gloves will be available for those who don’t wish to become too familiar with dirt in their quest for the shy spuds.
Radford said she also hopes participants will enjoy taking some target practice with toy gun and crossbow marshmallow shooters on the event’s shooting range. A variety of contests will again be offered. Organizers are also excited about the addition of a straw maze this year.
“You can get on a tricycle and race your heart out,” said Radford. “The Surry County Health Department will also be on hand to do whooping cough shots for those age 3-6 years.”
She said the celebration has evolved into teaching participants more about farming. Once again farmers and their families will be invited to get up on stage at the end of the celebration so people can put a face with the farmer, so to speak.
Radford was quick to point out that depictions of farming and farmers in movies and on television are not always accurate. She said the true picture of being a farmer is quite different. She added that 25 percent of the businesses in Surry County are agricultural.
Radford said there will be a petting farm and a corn sheller where children and adults can see how corn was separated from its cob before combine technology came along. Other farm equipment will be on display at the event.
Displays of foods grown locally will be featured as well as information on what the product does or is used for. She said that one perennial favorite display shows the process from growing wheat to milling flour. She said celebration participants will be able to clearly see the connection between field to table.
Celebrating agriculture isn’t all educational though.
Square dancing will be held with hearty invitations for the public to join in with the demonstrators. A 4-H activity tent will also be set up at the event. Children will be able to create a variety of crafts that will be agriculture related. Antique, new and classic tractors will be on display, there will be a farmers’ market, a chicken coop for children to explore and organizers are planning a “dignitary showdown.” A tractor pulled train ride for children will also return this year.
“Of course, you can’t have an event without food,” said Radford. “We will have food vendors including the Surry County Cattlemen’s Association who will have hamburgers and rib-eyes and local beekeepers will be selling their honey.” She also added that a local blueberry grower will be selling blueberry slushies. Radford reminded participants that while most of the activities at the celebration are free, the food vendors’ wares are not. Free cookies (while they last) will be given out.
Groups also participating in the celebration will include the Future Farmers of America, The Extension and Community Association (this group used to be named Extension Homemakers), the Surry County Bee Keepers Association and Master Gardeners.
“We couldn’t do this without sponsorship,” said Radford. Sponsors for the celebration include Farm Bureau, First Bank and Trust, WIFM Radio, Surry Telephone, Southern States, Surry Yadkin Electric, Surry County Cattlemen’s Association, Surry County ECA, Carolina Farm Credit and Lake Phelps. She said more sponsors are also stepping forward to support the event.
“I like to see the excitement of folks who participate in this event,” recalled Radford. “Many have been with us from the beginning. They talk about it every year telling us they’ll come back and have been every year. This event is worthwhile, hearing comments like that makes it worth it.”
Reach David Broyles at firstname.lastname@example.org or 719-1952