42nd annual Farmer’s Day garners big crowds

Published 12:10 am Tuesday, July 18, 2023

CHINA GROVE — Unofficial estimates are that about 10,000 people attended Saturday’s 42nd annual Farmer’s Day in downtown China Grove.

The event was initially organized to honor local farmers, and in its description, it is noted that from the start, “the festival allowed farmers to sell their produce and it provided a day of fun for … residents with food, crafts and music.” Farmers Day is held annually the third Saturday in July.

Approaching the event on Main Street, the annual display of tractors was the first to catch visitors’ eyes, including a hot pink tractor that stood out among the green and yellow.

Organizers had the participants separated somewhat according to category this year, beginning with farm-related booths and farm stands, followed by food trucks then by crafters and those with items for sale. There were a few mixed in here and there that were different, and information booths were also scattered among the tents.

And also scattered among the tents were games for children and families, from an updated version of ring toss in which a metal ring tied to a string needed to be tossed onto a hook on a nearby post, to the ring the bell stand where one uses an oversized mallet to drive a ball up to ring a bell. There were even rides on rescue horses and face painting.

The day started with overcast skies and a breeze, but by mid-day the sun was out and it was hot. Visitors were grateful for fans handed out by different groups, including Sen. Carl Ford, and the tent with a mist of water blowing through fans was frequently visited.

“Even if you get wet, any breeze helps cool your skin at that point,” said Molly Ivers, who was visiting for the day from Statesville. “I’m either going to be wet from sweating or wet from water — I’ll take the water.”

Early in the day, titles for Little Miss and Little Mr. Farmer’s Day were chosen, and winners were: Little Miss ages 1-3, Kathleen Yost; Little Miss ages 4-6, Becky Peralta; Little M. ages 1-3, Jeremiah Hicks; and Little Mr. ages 4-6, Banks Bennet.

In addition to the pageant, there were numerous musical performances mixed with dancing and clogging and even demonstrations by a blacksmith.

“We were very happy with the turnout,” said Events Coordinator for the town Jill Sellers. “I would estimate 10,000 people over the course of the 9 a.m.-9 p.m. festival.” There were concerns about calls for storms in the forecast, but it held off enough that the overall the day was a considerable success.