DOBSON — From funnel cake to roasted corn, food is part of the fun at any festival.
At the upcoming Celebrating Agriculture event, folks will have the opportunity to enjoy such delicious treats as well as develop a better understanding about how that food is produced.
The free festival will be held here at Fisher River Park on Saturday from 2 p.m. to 7 p.m.
“I’m really excited about it,” said Joanna Radford, an agent at the Surry Center of the N.C. Cooperative Extension. “The event is designed to give folks a way to have fun and learn about agriculture.”
Many of the activities planned go a step beyond merely showing or telling about agriculture.
For example, farm animals will be on site for participants to touch and feel.
But more interactive than a petting zoo, a chicken coop will be open to those who choose to go inside and collect eggs; “a mini farm experience,” said the extension agent.
Tractors old and new will be on display, but the addition of a combine simulator will provide an opportunity to try getting behind the wheel.
“Kids and adults can get in the machine and fell like they’re harvesting grain,” Radford said.
A hay maze with ride-on toys will be set up, and hayrides will also available throughout the afternoon.
Vendors from the farmers market will be selling fresh, locally produced produce.
Master Gardener booths will be demonstrating different techniques, such as home composting, vertical gardening, mushroom production and straw bale gardening.
The group will also host a plant sale.
“There’s a lot of variety of things they can pick up and see,” Radford said, with the exception of the beekeepers’ demonstration.
“They will have an observatory hive,” where the bees can be seen but can’t get out – for safety.
Radford noted that while produce, plants and food will be available for purchase, admission and the activities are are all free.
Sponsorship from throughout and beyond Surry County help keep the event inexpensive for those who attend, she said, adding, “It’s great to see all the businesses supporting agriculture.”
Celebrating Agriculture is an annual event hosted in partnership between the Surry Cooperative Extension and Surry County Parks and Recreation.
It was established “at least 10 years ago,” and possibly more, Radford said.
“We started this idea out of the extension advisory group,” which was driven by the fact that increasingly, “people just don’t know where food comes from,” she said.
“They thought this is a good way to raise awareness to what agriculture really is.”
Another focus of the event is to show appreciation to local farmers.
“Lots of folks have the idea that they’re not educated, that they’re bib overalls and a pitchfork,” like in the iconic “American Gothic” painting.
“And that’s not it,” she said. “Many of them do have a four-year education, some of them have more, and the technology that they use today is just unreal,” such as the use of drones to map out fields.
Back to the food
Food and drinks available for purchase at the event, as well as musical entertainment, will all have a local connection as well.
The Surry County Cattlemen Association will sell their famous rib-eye sandwiches and hamburgers. Appalachian State University’s “Howling Cow” ice cream will be sold by and benefit the Surry Central Future Farmers of America (FFA).
Roasted corn on the cob will be sold by and benefit the North Surry Central FFA. Funnel Cakes will be sold by and benefit the North Surry Band. Drinks will be sold by and benefit the “Early Birds” Extension and Community Association.
Performances by Marshall Brothers and Highroad Band, Rythmic Expression cloggers and Mayberry Squares square dancing will also be featured.
As Radford put it: “It’s going to be a fun day.”
Reach Terri Flagg 415-4734.