NEWBERRY — The community is gearing up for the sixth annual Ag Expo on Sept. 12 an Sept. 13 at the Newberry County Fairgrounds.
The event, previously called the Egg and Dairy Festival as well as Agrifest, is geared to highlight the strong and vital agricultural identity of Newberry County. Gates open at 4 p.m. Friday.
Since 2009, a committee of 12 volunteers has worked to put the event together, celebrating agriculture in a way the whole community can be a part of and enjoy.
One of the committee volunteers, Denise Berry, said one of the big draws of the event is the high school league rodeo sanctioned by the S.C. High School Rodeo Association (SCHSRA).
Berry said the SCHSRA has its own group of followers from states including North Carolina, South Carolina, Tennessee and Georgia.
The event will begin with art exhibits, as well as craft and food vendors that will be set up. The children’s rides in the Kids Zone will also open at that time. Inflatable bouncy houses, games, and face-painting will be available for children.
The rodeo begins at 8 p.m. Friday with entertainment leading up to the event. Berry said the local band The Change, Wightman United Methodist Church’s youth praise band Affirmation and The Part-Timers Band will be some of the entertainers for the weekend.
Another unique part of the Ag Expo this year is an antique exhibit that will include cars, tractors and other items, Berry said.
School children and home schooled students alike also will have the opportunity for their artwork to be judged. Berry said information was sent to schools and the teachers normally bring the artwork out to be judged. Artwork that needs to be dropped off must be brought to the fairgrounds on Monday or Tuesday from 3:30 p.m. until 7 p.m. to compete. The judging will occur on Sept. 10.
Commodities such as home grown tomatoes or potatoes will also be a part of the Ag Expo, Berry said. Those must be brought and left at the fairgrounds no later than Sept. 12. Berry said commodities can also be done through the school and have included canned, baked or dried goods, and crafts.
The expo kicks off early Saturday morning with a 5K run/walk, now in its second year. The 5K will begin at 8 a.m. with late registration at 7 a.m. The price is $20 to pre-register through Strictly Running’s website, but the price increases to $25 the day of the 5K.
“It starts at the fairgrounds and goes through historic downtown,” Berry said.
At 9 a.m., awards will be given to winners from the 5K along with the recognition of the art that was judged.
Starting at 10 a.m. Saturday, entertainment including dancers from local dance studios and a few bands will perform.
Cow patty Bingo will also be a part of Saturday, Berry said.
Although parking is free, there will be a $5 admission charge. Entrance to the rodeo will be $10 each night. The admission charge will give visitors access to the rides at no extra cost.
The profits from the Ag Expo benefit the Newberry County Ag Expo Scholarship Program and the Newberry County FFA program, Berry said, adding that local food banks have been added to benefit.
In the past, Berry said two $500 scholarships have been given to students chosen by the expo committee using proceeds from the event.
Because the Ag Expo is a non-profit event, Berry said they could use more volunteers. They are also seeking sponsors.
Berry can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org for more information.