Hendersonville – This Saturday, October 2, at Jackson Park in Hendersonville, 80 acres will be dedicated to celebrating the county’s rural traditions from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm. It is a free agriculture awareness event for all ages, which has been going on for over 60 years. The Henderson County Cooperative Extension promotes this event yearly in early October.
Apples as well as other crops including tomatoes and berries have been important and lucrative crops in Henderson County. The Farm City event lends a better understanding of what is involved in bringing these crops to market—both the pleasures and difficulties. Antique and modern farm equipment found at Jackson Park introduce city dwellers to everyday farm activities, such as milking a cow, feeding farm animals, driving a tractor, plowing a field, blacksmithing or sawing a log or tree. The many activities of country life are coming into full visibility for city dwellers in this city park.
Throughout the day, a number of stimulating and family fun activities are taking place. Pony and wagon rides and fishing are there for all to enjoy. Music and food booths will be available. Jackson Park will come alive with the sights and sounds of live regional bands, dancers and singers performing throughout the day. Steve Pettis. the Henderson County Cooperative Extension Commercial land Consumer Horticulture Agent said that the aim of the event is to teach people about agriculture in their county. Kirby Johnson from Johnson Family Farms on Kanuga Road will be bringing his antique tractors. The International Harvester Tractor Club will show its ‘Teaching Tractor,’ an amazing machine which has sections cut out so someone can see learn and understand the inner workings of a tractor. The Henderson County Master Gardeners are hosting a garden tool sale fundraiser. 4-H students will demonstrate how to make several crafts. There will be crafters spinning wool and others quilting. There will be a fishing hole, where children can fish but must be accompanied by an adult. Games from the past will be present, such as an egg toss, sack race and cornshucking.
A Teaching Tractor
IHCC Chapter 43 Appalachian Mountain Region of North Carolina based in Henderson County is bringing a Teaching Tractor to Farm City Day. Kids love tractors and it is important that agricultural machinery be used safely to prevent injury. The tractor is shown running, but off the ground and not moving, and valves have been color coded for a better understanding of what is going on. It has sections cut out, so someone can see the inner workings of the engine. The cutaway tractor was customized to give everyone from school kids to tractor enthusiasts a glimpse into the workings of 75-year-old farming technology. A number of Hendersonville farmers, James Dickson, Morris Edney, Jerry Merrill and Kirby Johnson amongst others, worked many hours on this project and have taken this tractor to schools and other shows. Online, there is a fascinating documentary showing the makeover of this 1951 McCormick Farmall Cub Tractor by the International Harvester Collectors Club: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sQvJHaJ-VZc.
4-H Clubs in Henderson County
The 4-H Club is often associated with farming, so members of this organization are participating in Farm City Day by bringing animals for a petting zoo—always a big hit— and showing craft making. Some city dwellers may not realize that the four letters in 4-H of the “H’ stand for Head, Heart, Hands and Health. These are the four values members work on with engaging programs throughout the year. According to Hannah Worrell, the 4-H Agent, 4-H Youth Development, there are seven 4-H clubs in Henderson County.
The individual club usually focuses on a specific activity or two. Barnyard Bandits 4-H Club’s focus is on raising, showing and care for farm animals. Dana Wildcats 4-H Clubs is for students at Dana Elementary School. Their Club’s focus is public speaking, project records, and community service. Henderson County Leaders in Training 4-H Club (LIT) focuses on service projects, citizenship, and fun educational topics. Hoofbeats 4-H Club (ages 8-18) Main Club focus is all about horses! Young Naturalists 4-H Club*! focuses on wildlife, environmental studies, and shooting sports, as well as other 4-H topics, and Lab Rats 4-H Club* focuses on science and technology projects.
For a broad overview of 4-H, Worrell says “4-H is the largest youth development organization in the nation and in North Carolina, educating hundreds of thousands of young people each year. 4-H does this through three development methods, 4-H School Enrichment programs, special interest programs, and 4-H Clubs. The purpose of 4-H is to grow the next generation of leaders by equipping them with life skills needed to succeed. One of the biggest misconceptions is that 4-H is only about agriculture, and while that is a large emphasis, 4-H is also about STEM programs, public speaking, community service, citizenship, youth choosing and completing projects, and fun education through hands-on learning! We can only do this through our amazing volunteers.” 4-H will be at Shelter 4, with craft activities and the petting zoo.
Planned entertainment includes three stages of bands performing throughout the day. The Farmer of the Year will be announced on the Main Stage. Farming is a way of life for many in Henderson County. Farm City Day focuses on ‘agricultural awareness’, teaching kids where their food comes from and who produces it. There is no admission charged for this event, but food trucks and vendors will be available. For more information go to: https://henderson.ces.ncsu.edu/farm-city-day-2021/