China Grove Farmers Day expected to draw large crowd Saturday
By Jessie Burchette
CHINA GROVE ó Cantaloupes, watermelons, antique tractors, bands, dancers and lots of food will fill several blocks of Main Street on Saturday.
The 27th edition of Farmers Day will have all the attractions that annually draw 30,000 or more to spend hours in the scorching sun sampling food, buying crafts and enjoying the music.
“We’re continuing to shake things up,” said Lee Withers, in his second year as chairman of the Farmers Day Committee. “We want to keep people around all day.”
And he’s expecting thousands to be be around Saturday night for the street dance featuring Chairmen of the Board around 7:30 p.m.
A fireworks show around 9:30 p.m. will conclude the day of fun and festivities.
Continuing the effort started last year to put the farmer back in Farmers Day, a large section of the north end of Main Street will be devoted to a farmers market.
Patterson Farms, one of the main sponsors of Farmers Day, will provide a wide selection of locally grown produce.
Some other local growers will have produce for sale, as will the South Rowan and West Rowan Future Farmers of America members.
“As long as it’s in season or they can find it and bring it in, we’ll have it,” said Withers.
Adding to the farming theme, Withers said the festival will feature a dramatic increase in the numbers of antique farm equipment that will be on display.
A couple of clubs will bring tractors, and one will raffle off a fully restored tractor.
And Withers is hoping to grow the antique equipment display in future years as the emphasis continues to be on farming.
“The focus on farmers went over well last year,” said Withers. “We have Farmers Day to support agri-business, to make people aware of the importance of farming.”
The festival, which is carried out by the Board of Trade, also serves to promote the town.
“Farmers Day helps promote the town. It’s the best economic development tool we have. It brings people into town,” Withers said. “It’s a great town to visit.”
Here’s a brief summary of features, events and information:
– Antique and show cars are still being accepted. Contact Withers at 704-855-4684.
Previously at two locations, the car show will be in the parking lot adjacent to the Fire and Police Department on North Main Street.
– The number of rides for children has been doubled. All will be located in the parking lot of the former Captain’s Galley.
– A handicapped parking area is being planned and will be announced later this week.
– Center City Group, a regional band from Charlotte, will perform at the main stage in the late afternoon.
– Center Stage Dance will do a special program around 6 p.m.
– Farmers Day starts at 9 a.m. Entertainment will be provided on three stages throughout the day: the main stage near the former Captain’s Galley, a stage in Hannah Park and the children’s stage at Centerview and Main streets.
– The Little Miss and Mister Farmer contest will be at 11 a.m. at the Hannah Park stage.
Farmers Day concludes around 9:30 p.m. The festival is along Main Street, extending from Patterson Street to Ketchie Street. There is no admission charge.