Thousands flock to Old Time Farm Day

Published 3:52 pm Monday, October 27, 2008

It was a corn-shuckin’, cow-milkin’, cotton-pickin’ good time had by all in the rolling green pastures west of Greenville Saturday.

An estimated 2,000-plus visitors came to Butler County Old Time Farm Day for its fifth event and its second year at the OTFD site off Sandcutt Road.

Visitors “a far piece” from Butler County were in attendance.

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Dale and Caterina Kenworthy of Michigan brought ten farm engines to display at the event.

“We always spend part of the winter in Magnolia Springs,” Mrs. Kenworthy explained.

“A friend of ours came last year and told us about Farm Day. So here we are this year and we’re enjoying it.”

There was plenty to keep youngsters occupied.

“It’s a beautiful day and the kids are having a blast,” said Glenn King of Georgiana. The county commissioner returned to the event with his grist mill run by a John Deere tractor engine. A bevy of youngsters gathered around a wagon to shuck ears of corn, then feed them through a hand-cranked sheller. By mid-afternoon, King had bags of corn meal ready for visitors.

“Look at how beautiful this is. That’s as freshly made as it gets,” exulted Annie Crenshaw as she cradled her own bag of the meal.

Others gathered to watch cane stalks sent through a mule-driven cane mill and see fresh syrup bubbling in black cauldrons over an open fire.

Charles Newton of Greenville could resist sampling an old favorite.

“Haven’t done this in years,” the representative said with a grin as he used to pocketknife to peel a fresh cane stalk.

There were lots of giggles and funny faces as Debra Martin, a Farm Day favorite, gave lessons in how to milk a cow. Martin also demonstrated how to churn butter in an old-fashioned hand churn.

Lynn Burns of Honoraville and her family paused to watch the milking.

“This is such a great experience for the kids in the community. Some of them would never get to see something like this otherwise,” Burns said.

Tom Braxton of Greenville, who had stopped to admire a 1934 International hay press on display, agreed.

“This event is such a good one, and it’s grown fantastically,” he said.

“It’s a real treat for those of us interested in the old ways, and a great learning tool for the kids.”

Neil Faulkenberry of Greenville pounded hammer against anvil in his blacksmithing forge while Gerald Ray McGough of Honoraville demonstrated apple butter making and offered old-fashioned sorghum and apple butter for sale.

Lots of folks visited the one-room cabin newly furnished for this year’s event. Some simply enjoyed sitting a spell on the shady front and back porches, while others admired the old-fashioned wood stove, colorful yo-yo quilts and other vintage items inside.

Youngsters got to engage in actual cotton picking contests and harvested sweet potatoes from fields planted for the occasion. Older folks enjoyed browsing among the expanded arts and crafts section, which offered everything from hand-quilted pillows, original artwork and vine baskets to Christmas ornaments and everything John Deere.

Both the young and young at heart got a kick out of petting the miniature horses, baby chicks, goats, rabbits and other animals on display.

“He’s so soft! I didn’t know a cow would be so soft,” remarked one young woman after stroking Martin’s pretty buff-colored calf.

Carey Thompson of OTFD was grinning ear to ear as the day drew to a close.

“Well, it’s just been a great day, beautiful weather, such a great crowd. You can tell they had fun,” Thompson said.

Thompson said they hope to add a museum to the site where vintage farm equipment could be repaired, restored and displayed.

“We also hope to get one day set aside next year for the school kids to come out here. First hand is the best way to learn something,” Thompson said.