Music, food, fun on tap in Francisco

By Dean Palmer - Special to the News
Local favorites Johnnie and Wendy Dearmin and Friends will be among those performing during a full day of old time bluegrass and gospel music. -

The third annual Francisco Farmfest, hosted by Our Communities of Northwest Stokes, will take place on Saturday from 10 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the former Francisco School playground. The site is owned by Chestnut Street Investments LLC, which will also serve as co-host of Saturday’s event.

According to Farmfest Committee Chairman Texie Jessup, a full day of activities has been planned around the theme of “Homegrown and Handmade.” Jessup noted that only vendors who create their own merchandise are included in the show.

There is no charge for admission.

The day will begin with an opening ceremony at 9:45 a.m. Featured speaker will be Mark Black of Chestnut Street Investments, LLC.

Activities will begin at 10 with a tractor parade around school grounds, a tribute to the agricultural heritage which helped to build and sustain the rural community. A second tractor parade will take place at 2 p.m.

Farm equipment will also be displayed and demonstrated throughout the day. Included will be an assortment of heritage tobacco equipment. A pair of tobacco slides will be on display and tobacco tying will be demonstrated from 10 a.m. until 2 p.m., between the two parades.

Other displays and demonstrations will include blacksmithing, chair caning, woodworking, corn grinding, weaving and Kudzu basket making. A working apple cider press will be on display and a hands-on milking booth will be open to the public.

The Surry County Quilters’ Guild will be quilting from 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. and a crocheting demonstration will take place from 12 to 12:30 p.m.

The 13 winners from a recent tractor calendar photo contest will be announced, with the winning photos on display. Attendees will have the opportunity to vote for their favorite photo with the winner to be used as the cover photo for the upcoming tractor calendar.

“We were very pleased with the response to our tractor photo contest,” Jessup said. “We had over 70 entries with some really great pictures. They represented a lot of our local history. We would like to find a way to display them all.”

An assortment of games and activities hosted by the North Stokes Future Farmers of America will also be offered for children. Featured will be a “cow train” created by the group for the event.

A Fiber House will feature handmade quilts, crocheted items, weaving and any other fiber crafts, including an assortment of items made from tobacco twine. The theme of this year’s display will be “well used, well loved.”

A Bakers’ Corner will feature an assortment of homemade sweet treats donated by some of Francisco’s best bakers. Hot dogs and barbecue will also be offered throughout the day.

Live entertainment featuring old time bluegrass and gospel music will be played throughout the event by favorite local bands. A special guest appearance will be made by Buford Kegley of Classic Country 98.1, WBRF of Galax.

A documentary film featuring music from last year’s Farmfest event will be shown throughout the day. Filming will continue during this year’s event for a new documentary, which will be shown next year.

Three scenic photo spots will also be available, decorated with authentic farm equipment and agriculture.

A raffle will be held with $5 tickets offered throughout the day. First prize will be a handmade walnut table by local craftsman Bill Hart. Other prizes will include a series of farm and rural-themed trays.

“This is a good way of introducing newcomers and young people to our area’s rich heritage,” Jessup said. “But there will be something for everyone and that’s important. It’s important that we include our entire area for those who will enjoy remembering and for those who are learning about our history for the first time.”

Francisco Farmfest will be located at 7165 Highway 89 W in Westfield.

Local favorites Johnnie and Wendy Dearmin and Friends will be among those performing during a full day of old time bluegrass and gospel music. favorites Johnnie and Wendy Dearmin and Friends will be among those performing during a full day of old time bluegrass and gospel music.

By Dean Palmer

Special to the News