Friday, 19 November 2021 18:05

Annual Ellerbe parade kicks off Farm-City Week

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A tractor rolls down Main Street in Ellerbe during the 2018 Farmers Day Parade. A tractor rolls down Main Street in Ellerbe during the 2018 Farmers Day Parade. RO file photo

ELLERBE — The kick-off for Thanksgiving starts with tractors rolling down Main Street for the annual Farmers Day Parade.

The parade, a collaborative effort between the USDA-Farm Service Agency and the town of Ellerbe, is the first event for National Farm-City Week — a time for city folk to thank farmers for their toil of the soil to provide food for the rest of the world.

Last year would have been the 25th year for the parade, but it was canceled in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, so organizers are considering this the 25th year.

“We’re hoping that we’re going to have a great turnout since we weren’t able to have it last year,” said Kelsey Lovin, program technician for the FSA. “We’re super excited to be having it again. It’s such a tradition for our office and the community.”

Leading off the parade as grand marshal will be Ellerbe-area farmer Morris Carter. 

“He’s a respected farmer in our community,” Lovin said.

Following him will be a line of vintage tractors, classic cars and trucks, ATVs, vehicles from fire and rescue departments and floats from other Richmond County businesses and organizations.

Lovin said that there were around 60 entry forms turned in for this year’s parade, but added that many people show up the day of.

She added that in the quarter-century since the parade started, it’s only rained once: in 2019.

While there is no rain in the forecast for Saturday, forecasts are calling for mostly sunny skies with the temperature being around 50 degrees when the parade starts at 11 a.m.

After the parade, there will be around 35 food and craft vendors set up behind Town Hall, according to Jamie English.

The thanks to farmers continues Monday with the annual Farmers Appreciation Luncheon, organized by the N.C. Cooperative Extension’s Richmond County office.

Extension Director Paige Burns said the noon luncheon has switched locations from the office in Rockingham to Millstone 4-H Camp outside Ellerbe so participants can exercise social distancing.

The menu will include chicken provided by Perdue Farms, brisket — but no goat this year.

Over the past several years, the Extension and the Richmond County Soil and Water Conservation District have awarded Family Farm of the Year. However, Burns said the two organizations decided to forego that presentation this year.

Millstone Director Keith Russell will be the key speaker.

Burns said the new location will also give attendees who have never been a chance to explore what the camp has to offer.

“It’s a great facility to have this event,” Burns said.