Old Time Farm Days to return in October

Published 3:01 pm Tuesday, August 10, 2010

It’s becoming one of Butler County’s biggest attractions. And organizers promise Old Time Farm Days will be even bigger and better this fall.

Retired educator Carey Thompson, one of the original organizers of the annual event, discussed OTFD’s past and plans for the future recently with the Greenville Lions Club.

A visit back in 1987 to Waterloo, Iowa for the first-ever John Deere two-cylinder shows put the idea of a similar antique tractor show into Thompson’s head, he said, but “things never got off the ground.”

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In 1994, the county’s first Plow Day was held at Poole’s Store.

Fast forward to 2005, when Thompson, along with Plow Day veteran Bill Campbell and several like-minded friends, brought the first official, full-fledged Old Time Farm Day to the county.

The first event was held at the late James McClure’s old dairy farm on Halso Mill Road. Two events were held that first year, in June and in October. The more temperate fall weather encouraged the group members to permanently set OTFD for the last Saturday in October.

There soon arose a need to find a permanent home for the event, which was growing in vendors and attendees each year, Thompson said.

“We couldn’t afford to buy a place . . . so I decided to lease my land for 20 years and any structures we’ve built or moved there, will be sold for or given to charity,” he said.

“We are not in it to make money. We want to promote old time farm ways.”

The event moved permanently to 2828 Sandcutt Road on October 27, 2007.

Since then, a large covered pavilion with seating and an attached kitchen has been constructed, and several farm buildings, a one-room cabin and other structures have been built/moved to the site. “We are also planning to build a museum there. We’ve had things donated but we just don’t have a place to put them all yet,” Thompson said.

The new site also allowed more room for crops to be planted-from cotton and sugar cane to velvet beans-and more animals, including milk cows, goats, miniature horses, mules, donkeys and rabbits, to be added for additional enjoyment and educational opportunities.

And speaking of education, last year the Friday falling before the Saturday event was designated School Day at the site, with students from across the county coming to watch old-time demonstrations and possibly try their hand at picking crops, milking cows, shucking corn and much more.

“I really had a great time watching those kids last year and we are planning to do it again this year with Butler County students and some from a couple of other counties,” Thompson said. With the addition of the School Day, the event was officially re-named Old Time Farm Days.

“We try to have lots for the kids, and this year we are adding a chicken chase like they did at Relay For Life. That was a lot of fun,” Thompson said.

Other children’s activities include dominoes and Chinese checkers, pedal tractor race, corn shucking and cotton picking contests, boot races, wagon rides, kiddie cake walks, a petting zoo and more.

Fun for young and old alike is provided through demonstrations of mule plowing, basket weaving, blacksmithing, butter churning and other old time ways, Thompson said.

“We’ve gotten a lot of good community support, and support from other events. We have people who come from 150 miles away to participate in Old Time Farm Days. And we are always looking for more volunteers and board members,” said Thompson.

The 2010 Old Time Farm Days is set for October 30 from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. To learn more about OTFD, visit www.oldtimefarmdays.com or call Carey Thompson at 334-382-2295; Christy Turner at 334-382-1084 (vendors); Harold Turner at 334-382-8989 (tractors) and Bill Campbell at 334-382-0045 (mules).