SWCD’s Farm City Day draws family-friendly crowd

Amber Gillenwater

October 2, 2013

PERRY TWP. — Farm City Day held this past Saturday at the Raccoon Creek County Park and hosted by the Gallia Soil & Water Conservation District (SWCD) was a great success by all accounts, and organizers are hopeful to again make this event an annual one for both the rural and urban folks of the county.

Farm City Day had reportedly been held annually in the county from the early 1980s to the early 2000s, and this latest event brought out an estimated 500 people to the upper level of the Raccoon Creek County Park in Perry Township and featured various activities, displays and demonstrations for the entire family.

According to Raina Fulks, the Gallia SWCD floodplain coordinator, who, along with Erica Preston, the Gallia SWCD education coordinator, helped to organize the large event, Farm City Day is aimed at educating people of both urban and rural backgrounds about conservation — a goal that the co-organizers hoped was met during Saturday’s event.

“The event was a fun way to show rural and urban folks alike the importance of agriculture and conservation,” Fulks said. “[It] brought people of the county together, and hopefully showed them more about where our food really comes from.”

The Gallia SWCD Board and Gallia County Commissioner Brent Saunders officially opened the day with a proclamation and, beginning at 10 a.m., visitors began arriving at the park to take in the event.

Throughout the day, individuals could take hay rides to tour three local farms, observe several demonstrations, including a presentation about spinning wool by the Appalachian Ohio Fiber Guild, learn about ATV safety, attend a presentation by Burdell Farm about honeybees, visit the petting zoo, make crafts and attend story time with staff members from Bossard Library, among many other activities. Another very popular event was electrofishing with the Raccoon Creek Partnership.

The entire day was a festival-type atmosphere, which was a bit of departure from the Farm City Days that were organized during the 1980s and 1990s and were held at local dairy farms; however, Preston reported that Saturday’s event brought back the memories she has as child attending those early events on local Gallia County farms, and she is hopeful that new memories were made among the children who attended this weekend’s event.

“I enjoyed seeing all the people having fun and wanting to learn about how farms work. It brought back my childhood memories of Farm City Day on the dairy farms in our county,” Preston said. “The most rewarding part of this event was watching the kids want to learn and enjoying it. As we were packing up, there was a kid singing ‘the farmer in the dell,’ how appropriate. It makes all those long hours and months of planning well worth it.”

Both Fulks and Preston are also very thankful to all of the volunteers, the Gallia SWCD Board, demonstrators and partners who helped make the day possible.

“The Gallia SWCD thanks all the partners that helped make it possible,” Fulks said, and according to Preston, the SWCD is hopeful to hold this event next year.

“I was shocked at all the surveys we received that were very positive, and it looks like we will try this again possibly next year, depending on funding and the board’s decision,” Preston said. “I couldn’t have done it without all the staff and board members and many volunteers’ help. There is no ‘I’ in ‘team.’”

For more information on Farm City Day, or to learn how to support the event next year, contact the Gallia Soil & Water Conservation District at (740) 446-6173.