JOHN CHAPPELL: Tradition: Robbins Gets Ready for Farmers Day
Robbins is gearing up for the 54th annual Farmers Day festival, July 30 through Aug. 1.
The three-day celebration hearkens to the time farm families came to Robbins on Saturdays to do their shopping, stock up on staples, and enjoy a little fellowship with one another.
More than a half-century ago, the town started its annual get-together honoring that tradition.
Farmers Day 2009 starts as usual down by the old Elise depot with gospel music and food. One group following another will mount the railroad stage as Robbins area families garner victuals from various "grab stands" -- burgers, dogs and drinks -- and sit beneath the track-side tent to visit and listen to Glory Road, the Destiny Quartet, and Redeemed Hearts. The downtown kickoff runs Thursday evening from 6:30 to 9:30 p.m.
Artisans and crafters open their booths the next day for two days displaying and hawking their handmade wares. There are food booths of every kind, chances to watch metal engraving, or see potters at work. Visitors can even take a turn at the wheel to try a hand at throwing their own pots, watch guitars being made, see blacksmiths and gunsmiths at work.
There will be carnival rides, pony rides, rock wall climbing and a moonwalk for kids.
Friday night is bigger, with bluegrass bands at 6 p.m., a pottery auction at 7:30, and music with Fine Blue Line, Country Rockers and McKenzies Mill from 6 p.m. to midnight. The sky lights up with spectacular fireworks at 10:15 p.m. In the middle of town, on a Middleton Street stage, Robbins' own Quick Silver Cloggers and Albemarle's Southern Express Cloggers will stomp up a storm.
Saturday morning, the Farmers Day parade starts at 11 o'clock -- 400 horses, mules and wagons.
A Special Forces parachute team will bring home the American Flag at 1 p.m.
Winners in 21 categories will claim trophies as:
Best-dressed girl, boy, woman and man
Best team of little mules
Best team of horses
Best country horse rider
Best team of little horses
Best parade horses
Best work horse
Best team of mules
Best pony rig
Best saddle horse
Best riding club
Both Miss North Carolina and Miss Moore County will be on hand for the fun.
Saturday afternoon may be the busiest day. After the parade and the singing of "The Star-Spangled Banner," the festival will recognize longtime Wagonmaster Odell Hussey and hand out the parade trophies.
In the afternoon, a lumberjack competition will be staged by the South Atlantic Woodsmen, and a mule jumping competition and show will be put on by the Carolina Mule Association. Horses will demonstrate log pulling and log stacking.
At 4 p.m., more than 100 entries will make up the antique tractor parade, with more trophies awarded. Then, at 6 p.m., the Orange County Pullers will put on a lawn tractor pull.
Down on the Post Office Stage, from 8 p.m. to midnight, Whiskey Rain from Winston-Salem will perform, followed by the local group Johnny and the Cadillacs.
Music continues throughout all three days of Farmers Day and, among others, features The McKameys, a nationally recognized gospel group from Tennessee. Three stages will crank out music -- blue grass, gospel, rock, beach and country. It is all family entertainment, and (except for rides) all at no charge.
"We thank all our generous sponsors," says Fire Chief Jarius Garner, who has headed up the work of the Volunteer Fire Department and the Farmers Day Committee in staging Farmers Day for many years.
Contact John Chappell at 783-5841 or by e-mail at email@example.com.
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