Old Farm Day – a favorite Fluvanna tradition for 20 years – will hit the county in a brand new way this year.
For the first time, Old Farm Day will take place in the spring, on Saturday (May 7) from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Pleasant Grove.
After severe weather forced the cancellation of Old Farm Day last October, the event organizers decided to embrace the subsequent rescheduling challenge and put a new spin on a classic festival by holding it in May.
“It’s a whole different feel. People seem to be really excited about it,” said Tricia Johnson, director of the Fluvanna Historical Society.
“We are going to be focusing on the season of planting rather than the season of harvest, so that has given us opportunities to work in different activities for the kids,” Johnson said.
For example, Johnson said, “The kids can help plant an herb garden around the summer kitchen at the Pleasant Grove House – herbs that would have been used during the time when the house was in use.”
Folks seem excited about the change, Johnson said – so much so that Old Farm Day will see its biggest surge yet with 145 vendors and exhibitors signed up.
There will be heritage crafters, with wool spinning, weaving, sewing with an old-fashioned treadle machine, chair caning, blacksmithing, beekeeping, and pottery. Antique farm equipment will be on display, joined by a new exhibit on the 18 canneries that used to thrive in Fluvanna County and another on Fluvanna’s old schools.
Sprinkled throughout the festival will be pockets of live music. A local bluegrass band, Grass & Eclectic, and a local folk singer, Erin Shenandoah, will perform, and the Piedmont Fiddle & Banjo Association will have a tent and “be jamming all day long,” said Johnson. Different churches will have acoustic music in their tents as well. “Everywhere you walk there’s going to be music in the air,” Johnson said.
Joining the 4H animals will be a petting zoo, Clydesdale horses, and a Virginia Wildlife Center exhibit with live owls. The Fluvanna County High School marching band will kick off the event with a parade.
And not only will there be standard festival food – barbecue, fried fish, burgers, and funnel cake – but this year the Little Manila food truck will make an appearance to serve Filipino food.
Admission to Old Farm Day is $5 for adults. Children aged 12 and under are free. Half the proceeds from the event go directly to the Farm Heritage Museum, which is planned for construction at Pleasant Grove. “We’re raising money for the museum and doing really well,” Johnson said. “A successful Old Farm Day would really help fill the coffers and get this museum built.”