Main Street Agriculture Day set for Saturday

By Katie Demeria

Frederick County residents will have the opportunity to learn about Virginia’s number one industry Saturday.

The Frederick County Farm Bureau is hosting its third annual Main Street Agriculture Day from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday in downtown Winchester.

President Paul Anderson said the event has been successful in the past — during its first year 3,000 people attended, and last year between 6,000 and 10,000 people were there.

“The purpose of this event is to get people in Frederick County and the City of Winchester to realize how important the agriculture and forestry industries in Frederick County are to them, for their health, for economic reasons, for everything,” Anderson said.

The day is entirely free and is also aimed at encouraging people to try and buy local food and products.

“We want to educate them on how important it is to buy local, to help the local agriculture, to look at their labels when they buy food,” he said.

All profits are going to programs that encourage even more agricultural education: The Frederick County 4-H, participating chapters of the Future Farmers of America, and a Virginia Farm Bureau supported program called Agriculture in the Classroom.

Agriculture in the Classroom allows teachers to take accredited courses in agriculture that fits into their curriculums, helping them teach students where their food comes from.

The idea of educating the next generation is a big part of Saturday’s event, as well, according to Anderson.

“Our goal is to not only educate the parents about where their food comes from, but also to educate young kids about it, as well,” he said.

Kids will have plenty of activities to choose from, he said, including pony rides and a hay maze. They can also face paint and come face-to-face with farm animals in the petting zoo.

Entertainment will be provided, as well. Two bluegrass bands will be playing throughout the day, and while they are taking breaks musically-inclined 4-H members will play for the crowd, too.

And local restaurants are going to get involved as well, featuring dishes with local twists as well as cooking demonstrations.

“We want people to realize that there is an industry in this area that they can take advantage of and get fresh fruits and vegetables — get healthy food,” he said.

Prior to this event the bureau had a farm day each year during which visitors could go out to the farm and participate in free events. But the problem, Anderson said, was that the same people would come out year after year.

“It didn’t really draw in the urban people we wanted to,” he said. “By going downtown and working with the main street program, it’s getting a lot of people who aren’t familiar with agriculture to come out and learn more.”

To learn more, visit the Facebook page at http://tinyurl.com/mmlgcn6.

Contact staff writer Katie Demeria at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or kdemeria@nvdaily.com