Sunday, May 29, 2011

From Preaching to Pork Rinds - SW Virginia Farm Days

'Anything you want to see, it's here'

Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days will include everything from dueling lawn mowers to preaching to pork rinds.

Demonstrations of all types, including sawmilling, will be available to visitors at the annual Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days.
Photos courtesy of Bob Camicia
Demonstrations of all types, including sawmilling, will be available to visitors at the annual Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days.
Among the activities planned for Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days, June 17-19 at Franklin County Recreational Park, are tractor pulls.
Among the activities planned for Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days, June 17-19 at Franklin County Recreational Park, are tractor pulls.
If your dad is one of those chainsaw-wielding, tractor-pulling, history buffs, you might consider treating him to a good time over Father's Day weekend at the Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days.

Now in its eighth year, the three-day event at the Franklin County Recreational Park, is jam-packed with events and demonstrations of all types -- from sawmilling and corn grinding to rock crushing and threshing and baling. Big tractors and smaller riding lawn mowers show off their pulling prowess, vying for bragging rights. Other events include a flea market and auction, gardening seminars, quilting demonstrations, bluegrass music and a horseshoe tournament.


"This is the closest thing that Franklin County has to a fair," said lake resident Bob Camicia, who serves as vice president and is one of the founding members of the non-profit Southwest Virginia Antique Power Festival, Inc., which puts on the event. "This is a fun family environment that has history associated with it."

Admission to next month's event is $5 per person and kids under 12 get in free. Whatever proceeds are left after expenses go back to the club to use to make improvements to the recreation park. Past projects have included constructing a new entrance into the park as well as several buildings that house the group's exhibits, said Camicia.

Several times each day throughout the three-day weekend, participants will get to see the running of the Fairbanks Morse engine. According to Camicia, the 1923 semi-diesel engine "was a monster, 10-feet-high ... estimated to weigh 12,000-13,000 pounds" and was once used to power the Exchange Milling Company in Rocky Mount.

"The engine ran the mill continuously until the late 1950s when the head of the engine cracked and the mill was unable to have it repaired," said Camicia. "After the head was cracked on the engine, the mill was repowered with a 40-horsepower electric motor, and the old Fairbanks Morse engine was just left to grow cobwebs in the basement of the mill."

About four years ago, the group moved the engine to the park and restored it to its original splendor, where it's now on display for spectators.

Not only are there an abundance of demonstrations, but there are bargains galore. At the auction, participants can bid on everything from old spark plugs and tractor parts to washboards and antique tablecloths.

"We never know until Saturday morning what's going to show up," said Camicia. "It's always a cliffhanger. Anything you want to see, it's here."

Participants should be prepared to come hungry, too. There'll be a variety of food vendors selling pies, cakes, pork rinds and more.

"There's a good selection of local, down-home country food," Camicia said.

Folks who need help getting around the massive park during the weekend can rely on shuttle vehicles to take them from the parking lot to the various exhibits and activities.

And if you miss church on Sunday morning, don't fret. Franklin County Administrator Rick Huff is preaching a Sunday morning worship service that also includes music.

The annual event is just one of many the Southwest Virginia Antique Power Festival hosts. In addition to its regular monthly meetings, the group also holds a swap meet and flea market in April and a plow day in the fall.

As the group's website indicates, its mission "is to restore and preserve farm machinery and implements that were used in the agriculture based society of early Southwest Virginia. These efforts are directed toward educating the public and future generations, through displays and demonstrations, about the importance that early farm machinery played in shaping life in Franklin County and surrounding areas."

Southwest Virginia Antique Farm Days will be held Jun 17-19. Admission is $5 per person; children under 12 are free. For an event schedule and more information, visit www.svapf.org.

ARTICLE FROM SMITH MOUNTAIN LAKE.COM Visit this website to learn more about this fantastic lake, its people and recreational activities! CLICK HERE

Learn more about Franklin County Virginia CLICK HEREStay with us at The Claiborne House B&B, we are just a short drive to Sontag Recreation Park where this very cool event takes place, we love to go to this as a family!

The Claiborne House Bed and Breakfast is 15 miles to three exits off The Blue Ridge Parkway. We are located at the half-way point of this beloved road in Virginia, exit at MP 121.We were awarded a Certificate of Excellence from Trip Advisor - click here to see our certificate.

* Please check with contacts listed above for event times, dates and location, this innfo is brought to you to assist with your travel plans. We are not responsible for scheduling changes. 

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