There is little more integral to rural life than farming. Whether it's growing vegetables, cutting hay for cattle, or pressing apples for cider or sorghum cane for juice that will be reduced to molasses – without farms and farmers most of us would go hungry. Their efforts in the field ultimately support all other activities in the community.
These farm activities are a big part of Carter County's heritage, and the county's Old Time Farm Machinery & Antique Association celebrates that heritage by preserving the machines, tools and knowledge of our grandparents', and their grandparents', generations in taming and nurturing the land.
The association meets monthly to indulge their passion for antiques of all types, but especially the machinery that helped reduce the workload and increase the productivity of our forefathers, and to plan for their annual show.
Always held the second weekend of September, this year the dates for the show are September 13 and 14. In addition to the antique farm machinery displays, the show will also feature traditional handmade crafts – from knit, sewn and quilted items to jewelry and woodcrafts – as well as agricultural products like locally produced honey, all available for purchase. Local crafters may set up at the event free of charge, explained group member Judy Campbell Lewis, as long as the items they are vending are handmade originals. Space may be limited, though, so vendors are encouraged to reach out to the group to check availability.
Traditional fall festival activities, like a cake walk, will also be a part of the event, with all money from the cake walk going to the group's scholarship fund. The scholarship fund is a fairly new addition to the club's charitable activities, with the first award of $500 handed out this past year to West Carter High School student Rebecca Jones. Jones is attending KCU where she is studying social work.
In the past the group has raffled off tractors, which has always been a big draw for the event, bringing in exhibitors and visitors from across the tri-state region. This year, though, the raffle highlights the traditional art of quilting. Those who purchase raffle tickets will be entered in a drawing for a hand-made quilt and a $400 gift card. Those tickets, at $1 each or six for $5, can be purchased from any of the club members or you may reach out to the group online through their Facebook page.
Those interested in exhibiting their antique farm equipment may also reach out in the same way. All exhibitors will be awarded a dash plaque for their entry, featuring a yet to be decided piece of antique farm equipment.
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