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A perfect farm day

ANGIE LONG - STAFF PHOTOS Ella Gates, (far left, in white top) enjoys romping with other youngsters on the big hay slide at Farm Day. Her dad Dale says all his children enjoy the annual event.

ANGIE LONG – STAFF PHOTOS
Ella Gates, (far left, in white top) enjoys romping with other youngsters on the big hay slide at Farm Day. Her dad Dale says all his children enjoy the annual event.

By Angie Long

There’s one thing everyone seems to agree upon regarding the 10th Annual Old Time Farm Day last Saturday, and that’s how Mother Nature scored a perfect 10 for vendors, volunteers and attendees.

A cloudless blue sky, mild temperatures and a balmy breeze just might have produced the prettiest event in its decade-long history.

“This is the only day I remember the weather being so agreeable,” said long-time OTFD fan, Carolyn Middleton. “I remember days of it being so cold, or it raining the day before and the ground being muddy and wet. This was just beautiful weather.”

Middleton said she enjoyed visiting friends that she doesn’t get to see as much since her retirement, as well as talking to vendors about their wares for sale.

Mary Croley was one of a number of vendors displaying the fruits of her labors at OTFD. As attendees browsed among her drawings and paintings, gourd art, hand-crafted jewelry, and festive gold and orange mums, Croley also remarked on what a gorgeous fall day it was.

“Last year the wind was so high at times, it was hard to keep things in place,” Croley said. “Today, it’s been just right.”

While adults kicked back, enjoyed a meal and listened to live country music under the big pavilion or caught up with old friends down at the cane mill or the blacksmith’s shop, children did what they do best — play. From the big hay slide to the corn crib, pedal tractors and barrel ride, there was plenty to capture their attention.

Young and young-at-heart alike vied for delicious home-baked goods during the cake and cupcake walks, while those with smooth moves and the proper hip action took the honors during the hula hoop contests. Event emcee and deejay, David Norrell, gave a shout-out to all the drivers and owners of the vintage tractors featured in the annual parade, which was followed by the Slow Tractor Race.

“Our children absolutely love Old Time Farm Day,” said father of four, Dale Gates. “I feel it’s a safe environment to let your children run and play. It’s small enough you can keep a check on them, yet big enough to still give them free rein to play and explore.”

The petting zoo, with its array of furry friends from llamas to little donkeys, was a favorite for many children, including the Gates youngsters, Dale said.

“The kids come running up to the zoo with all their energy and excitement, pick up a guinea pig or bunny, and instantly they sit down and become calm and quiet as they hold and love on that fuzzy little critter,” Gates said. “It’s amazing to see the calming effect those fuzzy animals have on our ‘little animals.’”

Having grown up on a farm himself, Gates said he enjoys giving his own offspring the opportunity to get a taste of farm living, too. “Plus, the food is always tasty and the farm demonstrations are always a treat,” he said.

“Old Time Farm Day is a treasure, and we as a community should really throw more support towards this endeavor. I would love to see the bigger crowds it deserves.”

Carey Thompson of OTFD, who was handing out certificates of appreciation to longtime supporters during the tractor parade, said he was pleased with Saturday’s turnout, but more attendees would certainly be welcome.

“And we can always use more volunteers from the community to support us,” Thompson said. “We’d sure like to keep this going and growing.”