Old Time Farm Days slated to return Oct. 31

Published 4:52 pm Tuesday, October 13, 2015

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, was on hand at Monday’s Greenville Lions Club meeting to help promote the event, which is slated for Oct. 30-31 this year.

A visit back in 1987 to Waterloo, Iowa for the first-ever John Deere two-cylinder show 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 Oct. 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.

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, an additional day was added to the event in 2009. 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.

With the addition of the School Day, the event was officially re-named Old Time Farm Days.

On Oct. 30, the gates will open at 9 a.m. to welcome students. Students from kindergarten to fifth grade are encouraged to attend, as well as students involved in Vocational Agriculture, FFA and 4-H. Admission for students, parents and teachers is $1.

“We run anywhere from 500-700 (attendees) on school days,” said Carey Thompson, Old Time Farm Days president.

On Oct. 31, the gates will open at 9 a.m. to welcome all audiences interested in attending; the gates will close at 4 p.m.

Children under the age of six will be admitted for free. Tickets for children from the ages of six to 12 are $2 and tickets for attendees older than 12 are $3. Vendors are also welcome to attend, and the cost is $20 per booth.

Activities for this year include hay bailing, cow milking, cake walks, butter churning, petal tractor races, chicken chases, a train ride for children, corn shucking and many other activities the whole family can enjoy.

“I think we had about 2,500 last year; it grows bigger and bigger every year. We hope to get people in our different communities in Butler County and even surrounding counties to participate,” said Thompson.

Guests are encouraged to park across the road from the event and will be escorted by trailers pulled by tractors. Volunteers will be gladly welcomed and items such as food or equipment can be donated by contacting Thompson at (334) 382-2295.

To learn more about OTFD, visit www.oldtimefarmdays.com.