NEWBERRY — Reaching its 13th year, Boy Farm held their annual Fall Festival on Oct. 14, bringing out the community for hayrides, pony rides, face painting and live entertainment for all to enjoy.
“It’s a barbecue fundraiser, but our main focus is to get the community out here. We have a lot of free events that help people kind of get to know Boys Farm a little better,” said Andre Jennings, development director. “We’ve been here for 57 years and so many people in the community have never been out here, so we want this to be an opportunity to kind of showcase what we do and have people try to be a part of what we’re doing.”
Over the years, the event has grown from solely selling barbecue plates to adding other elements, such as hayrides and pony rides, Jennings added.
“The community found out about it, so initially we have small crowds. Last year, we had around 500 people out here so we hope to continue to grow and make it part of the Newberry community events,” Jennings said.
For future festivals, Jennings wants to stress the continued need for volunteers.
“We have a lot of folks from Future Farmers of America, Beta Club and different church organizations who come out and volunteer,” he said. “It gives the boys at Boys Farm an opportunity to get involved. We definitely put the word out, so a way to get folks involved is by having them do different volunteering.”
Because Beta Club requires a certain amount of hours, the organization tries to get the community to come out and participate, he said.
It is hoped in the coming years different events will be add to the festival, he said.
“The different service organizations, they require volunteer service hours so we give them an opportunity to serve here and that way more and more people find out about the event,” Jennings said. “As it grows, it’s going to be free: the only thing we sell are the barbecue plates and a few other items you might want to buy. We just want people to come out and enjoy the festival with their families.”
In order to get the word out about the festival and get volunteers involved, Jennings said the organization relies on newsletters and word of mouth.
In addition, contact with schools and their counselors is made to raise awareness about the festival and give the community the chance to serve.
“It’s important for us that the community is involved, ” said Jennings. “We would like for people to think of this as a community event.
“This support is very important because so many times people come here for the very first time — not having seen Boys Farm — and it creates a lifelong relationship which is important for the organization as a whole, but the children that are part of Boys Farm also,” said Jennings.
Reach Kelly Duncan at 803-768-3123 ext. 1868 or on Twitter @TheNBOnews.