( 2 Votes )

For the second year in a row, Fluvanna’s ode to farming and fun makes its spring appearance.

The 21st annual Old Farm Day opens at 9 a.m. Saturday (May 6).

And at only $5 for those 12 and over, you’re going to love it.

One of the attractions this year is Virginia’s traveling “love” sign. It will be parked at Pleasant Grove from May 5-8. Brought to Fluvanna by Me2 Market and Eatery, the sign is 16 feet long with seven-foot high letters. It is a great backdrop for family, engagement and wedding photos.

As many may remember, Old Farm Day used to happen in October. But in October 2015, Hurricane Joaquin cancelled it. The only practical, available time to reschedule the festival was in May, said Tricia Johnson, director of the Fluvanna Historical Society.

“Old Farm Day is Fluvanna’s favorite family festival,” Johnson wrote in an email. “Children love the petting zoo and pony rides by Five Blessings Farm and horse-drawn hayrides by Trey Dillard of A. G. Dillard, as well as the Pink Cotton Candy Lady.  We have an incredible line up of bands this year; while we have our usual bluegrass music, there will also be some blues, soul, and southern rock. We have a much wider variety of food vendors – and, of course, heritage exhibitors demonstrating handcrafts of days gone by, and antique farm equipment.”

Displaying that farm equipment was the genesis of the event, said Glenn Schumaker.

“Well, as my mother tells it, my father [Frank Schumaker] and Ellen Miyagawa were working on a history-oriented display at the Old Stone Jail in Palmyra when they began to discuss the possibility of an event to demonstrate old time farming methods to modern families,” Schumaker wrote in an email. “Ellen was a prime mover in the Historical Society and was heavily involved in researching and writing many articles about Fluvanna history. Dad told her of John May’s extensive collection of antique farming equipment and they brought him on board with the idea.”

Families can visit more than 150 vendors and exhibitors with wares as different as handmade soaps, home-grown lavender, pottery, basketry, fiber art and many other crafts.

Kids love the potato hunt and hay toss as well as face painting, hay rides, the barrel train, and making yarn dolls, birdhouses and feeders.

Schumaker said he wasn’t living in Fluvanna when the event first started, but after attending in 1998, he was hooked.

From that point on, Schumaker planned his vacation around Old Farm Day. He’s now retired and living in Fluvanna. For several years Schumaker helped plan the event. He now works in an advisory capacity and helps round up the scores of volunteers it takes to put on the event.

“I still look forward to Old Farm Day every year and my favorite things are the music and the animals, especially the Clydesdales raised, trained, and exhibited by Trey Dillard.”
Old Farm Day is hosted by the Fluvanna Historical Society, which is dedicated to preserving the agricultural history of the county, and is committed to the construction of the Farm Heritage Museum at Pleasant Grove Park, Johnson said. 

Half of the net proceeds from Old Farm Day go to the Historical Society; the other half goes into a fund for the museum. The construction for the museum has been put out to bid and the society hopes to have the groundbreaking soon, Johnson said.

“My favorite part of Old Farm Day is seeing everyone – from toddlers to adults to seniors – enjoying the day, interacting with the vendors and exhibitors – and just having fun,” Johnson wrote. “This festival highlights what an incredible community we live in.  Watching people walking through, encountering old friends and enjoying the day makes it all worthwhile.”