Homegrown culture: Crowds gather for annual China Grove Farmers Day

Published 12:10 am Sunday, July 17, 2022

CHINA GROVE — Farmers Day drew visitors who packed the North Main Street strip to taste homemade treats and get an up close experience with farming activities Saturday.

The summer festival was established in 1982 and since then, it has continued to bring families to China Grove on the third weekend of July. Attendees sipped on cold lemonade during the hottest part of the day before storms rolled in during the afternoon, and even then, the turnout had event coordinator Jill Sellers pleased.

“I’m really happy with the good weather we’ve had,” she said earlier Saturday. “Everything has been really good and really sweet.”

By noon, the merchandise booth had already sold 400 tank tops and crewneck shirts, Sellers said.

Dozens of local businesses and political campaigners lined the streets, some providing paper fans and chilled treats to counteract the high temperatures as guests browsed. At the main stage, a Little Mr. and Miss Farmers Day Pageant allowed toddlers to show off their best farmer dress-ups. Musical performances were scheduled just before noon with Bradley & Dulaney Band, along with Ryan Perry performing country classics with new original music for those gathered under the concert tent. Festival goers took part in line dancing along to the beat of guitars and drums.

Children could take pictures with horses and feed butterflies to experience a taste of farm life. Additionally, classic event activities such as chalk art on the asphalt and cornhole in the shade kept families entertained as others visited booths of yarn art and carved goods.

Professor Whizzpop stood on the sidewalks with his loops creating bubbles. Next to him stood Gambol the Clown, passing out balloon creations to the amazement of kids who stopped to watch his handiwork.

Horizon Services, in partnership with Phillips Air Care of China Grove, was among the businesses represented at Saturday’s event. The heating and air conditioning company’s booth gave out free, ice-cold bottles of water to provide a way to cool off for festival goers and Josh Nowlin said has attended the event for seven years. “We love to come out to events like this to connect with our community,” he said. “We’re community-based and hope everyone is having as good of a time as we are.”

The festival concluded with a 1980s tribute of Kids in America as the day highlighted agriculture’s foundation with the local economy.