• 46°

China Grove celebrates 30th edition of Farmers Day

By Karissa Minn
kminn@salisburypost.com
CHINA GROVE — For the 30th time, the annual Farmers Day festival brought food, music, crafts and local pride to downtown China Grove on Saturday.
“It’s a festival in our hometown, so it’s like our heritage,” said town resident Jessica Wise. “I know why they originally started Farmers Day, and now it’s turned into all of this.”
The China Grove Farmers Day began in 1982 to honor local farmers by inviting them to sell their produce at a farmers market. Other local merchants began to join in. Now, the summer celebration draws tens of thousands of people and stretches over several blocks of Main Street.
Wise said she and her daughters, who sported sparkling face paint Saturday, said they try to attend the festival every year.
This time, Wise brought her boyfriend, Charlotte resident Khaled Dais, who said he thought it was just a farmers market.
“When she told me it was ‘Farmers Day,’ I wasn’t excited,” Dais said. “But I love it. They have a lot of things to do here.”
Wise said her favorite part is shopping for homemade crafts, and she likes that there are activities for her girls.“It’s a really good event to come and have a good day with your family,” Wise said.
Throughout the day, musicians and other performers entertained festivalgoers on three different stages. Children played carnival games and bounced in inflatable houses.
In keeping with the day’s history, the festival also featured booths with locally-grown produce and a display of antique farm equipment and cars.
Throngs of people walked along a line of more than 200 vendors selling crafts, clothes, keepsakes, a variety of fair foods and more. A few said that in the morning hours, it was the busiest Farmers Day they’ve seen.
Lee Withers, who assisted Amanda Eller in organizing the event, said he estimates that about 30,000 people came to this year’s festival.
“I think we had a gracious and steady crowd all day long,” Withers said. “That means the vendors and merchants, which we do this for, are getting a lot of business. … It’s been an amazing day.”
Brenda Kafka, a Kannapolis resident, worked a booth called “Alice and Brenda’s Crafts.” She said it was her first time as a vendor at Farmers Day, and she’ll probably be back.
“I’ve really enjoyed it. I think it’s fantastic,” Kafka said. “We heard this was a pretty big event here, so we thought we’d give it a shot, and we’ve been real pleased with it.”
She said she hadn’t had a chance to explore the festival because their booth had been so busy.
But Sherrie Harman, of Concord, said business seemed slow for the amount of people there. She ran a pottery booth called Simply Sherrie.
“I think it’s a great crowd… but they’re not buying much,” she said. “Maybe it’s the economy.”
nnn
Perry McCallum grew up in China Grove, but Saturday was his first Farmers Day in about 20 years, he said. McCallum recently retired from the U.S. Marine Corps and came back home.
“They’ve changed it up, but it’s changed for the better,” he said. “There’s new and different stuff, and there’s more people involved with it. It’s nice, very nice.”
McCallum loved listening to the performers, he said, and would be back for the street dance and fireworks that evening. He said his 3-year-old daughter, Aleah, also “was getting her little dance on” as the music played.
Also joining McCallum at the festival were his son, J.T., and his son’s friend and classmate, Brandon Sloop.
Sloop sat in the dunking booth Saturday afternoon to raise money for Jesse C. Carson High School, where he is a rising sophomore.
Sloop said he didn’t mind being dunked, because “it felt good, it was so hot outside.”
Julie Harmon, of Kannapolis, took shade under the floppy hat she had just bought at her first Farmers Day. She came with her daughter Carin, 13, and her son Cade, 3, who got an Angry Birds tattoo airbrushed on his arm Saturday.
“I would definitely come back,” Harmon said. “I enjoyed seeing all the crafts and letting the kids do some stuff they don’t normally do.”
Her next-door neighbors, Steve and Lisa Brown, said they try to make it to the festival every year.
“We love to see all the booths, and get out and fellowship with everyone,” Lisa Brown said. “It’s good to get out of the house and see the community get together.”
The Army’s 82nd Airborne Division military chorus, an a cappella choral group from Fort Bragg, performed during the Farmers Day opening ceremony Saturday morning.
Winners of the Mr./Miss Farmer’s Day Pageant were Kaitlyn Losh (female, 3 to 5 years old), Braydn Overcash (male, 3 to 5 years old), Adalyn Grace Moffitt (female, up to 2 years old) and Dales Gardner (male, up to 2 years old).
Contact reporter Karissa Minn at 704-797-4222.
Twitter: twitter.com/postcopolitics
Facebook: facebook.com/ Karissa.SalisburyPost

Comments

Comments closed.

Education

RSS gets clean audit, firm says no misappropriations of school funds

News

Rowan County recalibrates plans for Woodleaf Community Park after missing out on grant funding

News

NC NAACP elects first woman as president; Salisbury’s Black finishes third

Coronavirus

FDA OKs Pfizer vaccine for young kids

News

State news roundup: Davidson County parents charged in abuse of 6-week-old

Coronavirus

COVID spread down substantially in North Carolina, state data shows

Sports

ACC eyes new headquarters options outside Greensboro

Local

Rabid raccoon break-in forces Dan Nicholas Park staff to euthanize three animals

Business

Real estate agent takes advantage of hot High Rock Lake market, earns award for $10 million in transactions

High School

High school girls golf: Mustangs finish 4th in 3A state tournament

Local

Rowan Sheriff’s Office will hold fundraisers, grow beards to help Marsh family

Crime

Blotter: Four charged with contributing to neglect of minor

Business

Umami Downtown aims to bring bold flavors to Main Street

Education

RSS Board of Education discusses latest draft of school justice partnership

China Grove

Touting experience, Don Bringle looks to retain seat on China Grove Town Council

Crime

Jury selection begins in trial of man charged with killing father

High School

High school football: Freeman a surprise weapon for Hornets

News

North Carolina’s $25 reward helped boost COVID vaccinations

Education

RSS makes masks optional, plans to revisit decision in November

Elections

Rowan, Cabarrus, Stanly GOP host U.S. Senate forum in Gold Hill for registered Republicans only

Crime

Juvenile shot Saturday expected to make full recovery

Crime

Blotter: Homeless man jailed after throwing rocks through woman’s front door

Local

Political Notebook: Rowan County elections supervisor speaks out after debate to replace him

Crime

Blotter: Kannapolis man charged with involuntary manslaughter