DOBSON — Celebrating Agriculture, a long-running festival sponsored by Surry County Extension, will have its final outing on Saturday.
“We started looking at different dates several years ago,” said Joanna Radford, horticulture agent for County Extension. “Everybody had something going on, and we settled on the second Saturday in September.”
But in the past few years, other events have conflicted with the extension event.
“The Mountain State Fair is this weekend, and a lot of our vendors go to that,” said Radford. “You can’t blame them. It’s a bigger event.”
The final straw came when Celebrating Agriculture came up against N.C. State football tailgating, and a lot of the commodity associated groups who had been a presence at Celebrating Ag in the past decided to stay in Raleigh.
“It’s become more and more of an issue,” said Radford. “We’ve tried to work around it, but if we move the date too far out, weather becomes an issue. And you can get in the way of harvest time for farmers. We haven’t found a good time. There is no convenient date.”
Brainstorming efforts by Celebrating Ag organizers led to discussions with Gail Hiatt, a guiding force of Mount Airy’s FarmFest celebration.
“We could combine our efforts,” said Radford. “We would move to Mount Airy instead of being at the park. And FarmFest is in May, so a May date could free up some of our vendors that we’ve lost.”
Radford said Celebrating Agriculture, which has been in existence for 13 years, was originally conceived to bring awareness to agriculture and Surry County’s agricultural history and culture. Mount Airy’s FarmFest has a similar purpose leading Radford to think the merger makes sense.
This year’s final edition of Celebrating Agriculture in Fisher River Park on Saturday will have a lot of popular attractions from years past.
“Food,” said Radford. “We’ve got the food. The Surry Cattlemen’s Association will have their famous ribeyes and hamburgers. The North Surry FFA (Future Farmers of America) will be selling roasted corn, and the Surry Central FFA will have hot dogs, chili dogs and beef sticks. And then the usual desserts, baked goods and kettle corn.”
The band, Surry Line, will perform in the park’s amphitheater between 2 and 3 p.m. and square dancers Mayberry Squares will perform between 3 and 4 p.m.
A kid’s activity tent will be sponsored by 4-H, and kids can participate in an activity new for 2018: a potato dig.
A petting farm will have horses, cows and other farm animals. There will be chickens, and kids can pick up eggs.
Master Gardeners will return with a plant sale. Among the plants on offer will be fruit trees. They’ll also have butterfly houses and mason bee houses, both of which are good pollinators.
Vendors from Surry County’s farmers markets will be selling their goods at the festival.
New and old tractors will be on view, and visitors can vote for their favorites. People’s Choice awards will be given for first, second and third places.
Celebrating Agriculture will be Saturday from 2 to 7 p.m. at Fisher River Park, 251 County Home Road, Dobson. The family-friendly event is suitable for all ages and admission is free. All activities are free. The only cost to visitors is to purchase food, or make purchases from Master Gardener’s or the farmer’s market.
Reach Bill Colvard at 336-415-4699.