02 October 2013
A salute to all things agriculture, Old Farm Day is, in essence, Fluvanna’s county fair. It’s where people vie for bragging rights for best apple pie, pickles, fresh and canned fruits and vegetables.
It’s also where you can see how farmers plied their trade back when just about the only thing in Fluvanna was working farms.
It seems only appropriate the festival is held at Pleasant Grove, a nearly 1,000-acre tract on Rt. 53 east of the new high school. Purchased by the county in 1994, Pleasant Grove was the Haden family farm. Settled by John Haden in the 1760s, in succeeding years generations of Hadens lived on and worked the land. William Haden, great-grandson of John, built the red brick manor house the county is renovating.
The renovation work put a small kink in the Old Farm Day Committee’s plans, but nothing that couldn’t be overcome, said Susan Swales, chairman.
“The grounds around the house are not available to us so we had to rethink the best way to organize the event to make it convenient and inviting to people attending and to make it appealing to the vendors,” Swales said. “Much of the activity will be around the pole barn area with many of the crafters and organizations set up in the big field adjacent to the one existing pole barn. Good walking shoes are a must. We think there might be a slight bottle-neck in foot traffic around the back of the (manor) house on the gravel road because the construction fence is so near the west side of the road. Please be courteous other pedestrians and try not to get onto the hay wagon path.”
Swales reminds people they are not to bring pets.
Bikes are allowed only in the bike rodeo area near the main gate. That event is new this year. It is Fluvanna’s official kickoff to the Move2Health campaign sponsored by the Community Action on Obesity and the Thomas Jefferson Health District.
Keen observers may have already seen Parks and Rec Director Jason Smith on local TV Move2Health commercials.
Kids can bring their own bikes to participate in the rodeo, or one will be provided, Smith said.
“We’ll have bike helmets to give to the first 100 participants,” he said. “Members of the Charlottesville Area Mountain Bike Club will be on hand to help fit the helmets.”
The same group will host a beginner’s trail ride through Fluvanna’s Heritage Trail system at 2 p.m.
New this year is a corn-shucking contest for kids at 2 p.m. Just before that is the ever popular kid’s tater hunt. Children comb the horse plowing area, paper bag in tow, looking for potatoes. Every one they find, they get to take home.
Vote for your favorite scarecrow. Put a minimum of $1 in per vote and decide on your favorite. All proceeds help the Fluvanna Farm Heritage Museum. Winners will be announced at 3 p.m.
The Fluvanna Farm Bureau is sponsoring a hay bale toss to benefit the high school agriculture program. The Farm Bureau’s Women’s Committee is hosting a silent auction to benefit farm families hit by tornadoes in Moore, Oklahoma.
What would a farm festival be without an animal sound contest? At 11 a.m. in the horse plowing area, adults and children alike will have two tries to make the sounds of the animal of their choice. Rules are contestants must use their own voice with no amplification or mechanical help. Accuracy and crowd response determine winners.
Other sounds in the air will be supplied by the group Rockfish Gap and the band Grass and Eclectic.
Fluvanna Master Gardeners had so many questions about gardening around ever-present deer at their spring plant sale, volunteers decided to focus on deer in their display this year, said Walter Hussey.
“This year the FMG booth will focus on how to garden in Fluvanna in spite of the presence of deer and their insatiable appetites,” Hussey said.
Hussey and other FMGers worked hard all summer on a new brochure about deer. The guide, Deer, A Garden Pest was sent to Virginia Tech by extension agent John Thompson, who recognized the value of the guide and the prevalence of deer issues statewide, Hussey said. Virginia Tech published the guide and distributed all over the commonwealth. It’s available online, but if you stop by the FMG tent, you can pick up your own and, if you ask him nicely, Hussey might autograph your copy.
Swales chaired OFD for the past five years and is helped by a committee of 15.
She does it, she said, because as a farmer herself, she loves the focus on that industry.
“I think it’s really important to preserve our heritage and OFD does that through the old farm equipment and demonstrations,” Swales said. “My favorite part is the equipment demonstrations, horse plowing, the barrel train and the people I’ve gotten to know over the years.”
2013 Pre-Scheduled Events
Front Field B
Hay Bale Toss, Farm Bureau tent All Day
Home Makers Contest Reg. 9–11 a.m.
Home Makers Award 1 p.m.
Apple Pie Registration 9–10 a.m.
Apple Pie judging 11 a.m.
Scarecrow Contest Registration 9–11 a.m.
Scarecrow Award 3 p.m.
Heritage Crafters All Day
Apple Butter Making Demo. All Day
Lions Vision/Hearing checks (free) All Day
Horse Plowing All Day
Animal Sound Contest 11 a.m.
Kid’s Tater Hunt 1 p.m.
Farrier & Blacksmithing Steve Feden, Chris Beaulieu All Day
Willow Oak Stables and James River Equine Services
Dental Float 11 a.m.
Xray demonstration 1 p.m.
Raffle Award 3 p.m.
Antique farm equipment
Corn Shucking (10 yrs & under) 2 p.m.
Rock Fish Gap 10–11 a.m.
The Grass and Eclectic Co. 1–3 p.m.
Pony Rides 11–3
Jaunt Bus All day
SCA – games for children All day