From then to now...

Back in 2003, we decided to take our Farm City Week celebration to the next level. We held the 1st annual Farm Heritage Day at the Farmers Market in Williamston NC. Items on hand were a few pieces of new equipment, a large number of old farm implements from everyday life on the farm, carriages, buckboards, backboards (dressing boards or corpses), items used in an old fashioned hog killing, harrows, planters, a life size model smoke house, and many, many more. We also had demonstrations like quilting, knitting, and wool spinning.

We quickly outgrew the Farmers Market building the first few years of the event and relocated to the Senator Bob Martin Eastern Ag Center on Prison Camp Road in Williamston NC. We added a live entertainment element as well as foods contests like the cake/pie/candy contest and the home canned foods contest, complete with ribbons and prizes.

Each year, kids are drawn to the Pedal Tractor Pull where the young ones ride on a pedal tractor pulling a sled with weights like the big boys do (minus the pedaling of course!!).  Just a short stroll away, 4-H hosts a concession stand and  a separate booth with an activity for the kids. And don't forget to look for Smokey the Bear; he can usually be found wondering around greeting folks!  Old and young alike enjoy the wagon rides pulled by huge, beautiful horses

The Martin County Master Gardeners have plants and sometimes seeds for sale and help kids make bird feeders to take home and hang up outside! There's a booth dedicated to educating people about honey and where it comes from! So much to learn!

Filling Station Catering sells lunch plates and sandwiches: chicken mull, Brunswick stew, BBQ pork, and barbecued chicken.

Since the beginning, we have encouraged farm life educational booths and demonstrations such as quilting, knitting, tobacco tying, cross cut sawing, cutting up hogs for food preparation and preservation, sausage stuffing, water pumping, cotton ginning, corn shelling, peanut picking, fat grinding, making cracklin's, wheat grinding, hay baling, embroidery, wood working, etc. 

Ruritans in the county play a big part in the event also; they help us move the equipment on display.  The Farm Life Ruritans grind fat and cook cracklin's. The cracklin's are free for donation and are served with a baked sweet potato...a farm boy nutty buddy!  The Robersonville Ruritans demonstrate how to tie tobacco.  The Bear Grass Ruritans demonstrate cross-cut sawing and shelling corn and invite you to get into the act also!

A group of wonderful folks come out and bring their antique tractors for us to enjoy!  These tractors are beautiful! They are lovingly cared for and one of the main attractions! In the past, we have had International, John Deere, Massey Ferguson, Farmall, Case, Ford, Allis Chalmers, Gibson, and Minneapolis-Moline to name a few. New equipment has been displayed by Case International, Massey Ferguson, John Deere, and New Holland.

We have produce vendors who bring huge collard plants, potatoes, sweet potatoes, pepper vinegar, home canned foods, and much more. You can meet folks from the local Farmers Market Association and explore the opportunity to become involved with a great group of folks who work hard to provide fresh fruits and vegetables, preserves, jams, jellies, butters, plants, seeds, handmade and homemade items, and more.

And even more vendors...We have a number of vendors selling a variety of goods, some homemade and some not. There's usually honey; Rada; pottery; bird houses; sewn items; Sentsy; angels made of string and sometimes even quilted; handmade quilts; wreaths; candles; jewelry; items made from wool; BBQ sauces; Thirty One; crocheted and knitted scarves and hats and just about anything you can make; cheese boxes; Tupperware; painted slate; hair bows; and the list goes on. You'll probably find cookbooks; medical supplies; gifts; cookware; toys; homemade foods; and much more. It's a great event to pick up some of those last minute Christmas gifts!

If you have an extra few dollars, there are raffles and drawings as well!

So maybe you understand why I get so excited about Farm Heritage Day...this is the biggest event we host each year and it's getting bigger! Last year, estimates on attendance were over 3,500! For the older generation, it's a trip down memory lane; an opportunity to show the children and grandchildren how things were done just a few short years ago.  For the younger folks, it's a learning experience; a piece of history live and in action. For me, it's an opportunity to work with a remarkable group of folks from all over eastern North Carolina; an opportunity to bring folks together and celebrate both farm life and city life!...And I love it!

Shelia Ange, Administrative Assistant