* Farmpark History
Latham, a field engineer for Georgia-Pacific, lives a few miles east in Randolph County. One of their early associations was as co-owners of an airplane based at Loflin's Denton Airport, a grassed runway with an open-sided shelter as a hangar. Both piloted the airplane, and the airport was a frequent gathering place for other aviation hobbyists and their flying machines.
The story of Denton Farm Park in Denton North Carolina and the Southeast Old Threshers' Reunion must begin with the introduction of Brown Loflin and Howard Latham. Loflin is a lifelong resident of Davidson County's Handy community, the home of this museum park. Farmer, entrepreneur and con-summate hobbyist, he has done everything from driving race cars, flying and restoring old machinery to building the park. He is the organizer and director of the Threshers' Reunion.Latham may have been harboring a desire to be a railroad engineer. Taking vacation during the Reunion, with traditional striped cap and red bandana, he drives the steam locomotive on the park's standard gauge Handy Dandy Railroad. "It's hard work and hot," he said, "but it's also fun when I see how much it's enjoyed by kids from 2 to 92."
The park's egg was laid in 1970 when flying buddies joined them in a July 4 "Fly-In," selling airplane rides and donating the money to the establishment of a volunteer rescue squad for the area. The project was so successful that long waiting lines resulted in lost revenue. The next year, local collectors demonstrated antique farm machines to ease the impatience, and the name was changed to "Fly-In and Threshers' Reunion."
Farmpark 2011 Click on Photo for larger view
"We didn't know what we were getting into," Loflin recalled. "We found out there were a lot of antique machinery collectors looking for a place to gather, and a lot of people who were interested in looking at it, and we sure did get caught up in it."
They traveled to various parts of the nation, visiting other antique farm machinery shows and gathering ideas for what was to become Denton's biggest happening. The event expanded over the years to two days, then three, and four, and now five. Construction has turned what once was Denton Airport into virtually a small town with a 15,000-square-foot exhibit building; a covered pavilion Music hall; a restoration shop with equipment for reviving antique machines of all sizes; a second exhibit building called Display Hall; a variety of restored old buildings; bath and restroom facilities; and structures for dispensing food and refreshment.
In the 1980s, Loflin and Latham parked their planes (the tires had been flat for years they sold it in 1987) and concentrated on their new enthusium. Attendance swelled until the the "Fly-In" became unsafe. Airplanes were banned and the event became the "Southeast Old Threshers' Reunion".
Loflin and Latham are partners in the train and some of the restored old tractors and other machinery.
In 1979, they recovered the locomotive from dereliction near Burnsville in the mountains of western North Carolina. Restoration of the engine, passen-ger cars and caboose, and building of the track, was a three-year project before the railroad's operation began in 1982.
The steam shovel was acquired in 1976 from a stone quarry near Har-risonburg, VA, where it had become a signboard.
In 1989, Loflin could resist no longer his ambition to rescue the deteriorating buildings of a plantation which pioneer Richmond Reid built in the 1940s on land along the banks of the Yadkin River, a few miles from the park in southern Davidson County. He obtained the buildings from Reid's descendants, who welcomed preservation, and he and park employees worked months on preparation and moving.
Recent land acquistion has expanded the park past 100 acres, providing space for additional parking and camping areas and a second entrance which has improved traffic flow . View Source
Denton FarmPark puts Christ back into Christmas with Country Christmas Train
For most, November and December are hectic months when we spend most of our time preparing for Christmas Day. Somewhere along the line, the real reason for the holiday typically gets lost. However, the Denton FarmPark has created an event to put Christ back into Christmas.
The Country Christmas Train was a huge success in 2009 with church groups coming from all over the Triad, according to Karen Miller, general manager of the Denton FarmPark. “They were seeking something with meaning, a Bible-based event. We were overwhelmed with the number of people who came out in the bitter cold last year,” she said.
The Country Christmas Train takes riders through woods dressed up in sparkling and twinkling lights. Along the way, it stops so passengers can watch a short movie about Mary, Joseph and baby Jesus – the story of Christmas.
The majority of the buildings are open, providing warmth and Christmas fun.
At the church, you can sing Christmas favorite carols and hear the Christmas story. Throughout the park, you can roast marshmallows over an open fire, drink hot chocolate and apple cider, eat homemade Brunswick stew, buy some crafts and corn meal. You can mail a wish list to Santa at the General Store or tell him in person at the Train Station. Children can make Christmas cards. The front window of the Radio Museum will be dressed up for Christmas and the Doll Museum will be open. Cameras are allowed.
The second annual Country Christmas Train will be open Friday-Sunday: November 26-28, December 3-5, 10-12 and 16-19. Gates will be open from 5-9 p.m., with the last train departing the station at 9 p.m. Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for children 5-12 and free for children 4 years of age and younger. Group rates are available.
The owners of the FarmPark have been collecting seasonal lights for the past two years from a number of small towns and have purchased more than 10,000 bulbs. It normally takes two months to decorate the entire facility.
Karen Miller tells that her father, Brown Loflin, awoke one morning a few years ago and said he had a dream that night about decorating the park for Christmas. So, they held a family meeting and decided that was the way to go.
The entrance to the Country Christmas Train at the Denton FarmPark is 4259 Handy Road, south of Denton. The train and parking areas are handicapped accessible.
For more information or to register a group, call 336-859-2755 or log onto www.CountryChristmasTrain.com