ELLERBE – As fall rolls around, the aroma of festival food will soon fill the air, and like the expected change in the season, one of Richmond County’s longest-standing annual events is set to take place.
The week before Thanksgiving, on Saturday, November 18, the 22nd annual Farm City Week Parade will make its way through downtown Ellerbe.
The event, which showcases the county’s pride and rich history in farming and agriculture, has several floats and organizations already registered. Last year there were nearly 140 entrants in the parade, and the number this year is expected to be about the same. The affair will also have several food vendors on site, and promises to be a good time for all.
According to Amy Yaklin of the Richmond County Agriculture Extension Office, the parade itself starts at 11 a.m., and typically lasts about an hour as it runs right down Main Street. Following the parade, the festival will continue in full swing behind Town Hall.
“This is one of my favorite times of the year,” Yaklin said. “Many people plan family reunions around it, and some have dinners together afterwards. It’s just a lot of fun”.
Anyone can enter the parade and there is no charge. To sign up, one can contact Ellerbe Town Hall at (910) 652-6251. Vendors of the festival are required to contact and receive approval from both Ellerbe Town Hall, as well as the Richmond County Health Department, in order to participate.
On the Monday of Farm City Week, a farmers luncheon will be held to allow local farmers to hear from county officials, as well as a guest speaker. Farmers will also receive information from the different agencies and cooperative services at the luncheon.
According to the NC Cooperative Extension, the history of Farm City Week dates back to the 1950’s. Charles Dana Bennett, a businessman from Vermont, and Merle Tucker, who was the Chairman of the Kiwanis International Agriculture and Conservation Committee, were on a train together traveling from Chicago to Washington, D.C.
The two discussed the negative image of agriculture, brought about due to struggling farmers. Costs, debt and property taxes were up, while farm income was low. They were concerned that the farm life and the city life would continue to drift further apart.
The Kiwanis created the National Farm City Committee and coordinated it until 1988 when Farm Bureau took over the responsibility. Today, as the original visionaries’ mission continues, Farm City Week works to build understanding, communication and cooperation between the farming community and those residing in the city. This is accomplished though the many agencies, farming partners and individuals in both communities.
Yaklin said the planning committee’s kick-off meeting for Farm City Week Parade is coming up. This is when a theme will be developed and publicized.
Save the date and look for additional details in the Richmond Observer as they become available.