Preservation of History: The Oldtime Farming Festival

By: Flo Smith
Centerburg, Ohio
AgriScience Education

Every third weekend in September, Centerburg, Ohio shuts down.  The village of 1,920 people closes up the bakery and local pizza places to host the Oldtime Farming Festival.  The annual event lasts two days and dominates the local park.  Most of the people in town visit at least once.

Flo Smith, photo 101

The festival consists of a tractor show, parade, games tent, kids’ corner, horticulture show, and art competition. The main walkway leads through the food trucks and local groups selling their food as a fundraiser. The well-known root beer stand stands tall at the head of the festival, and it is a main attraction. After getting your dollar root beer or cream soda, you can continue walking through the shops of handmade items from local talents.

Walk along the creek to the kids’ corner to watch the magician or see the children dig for coins in the hay or sand.  Look past the contests and games tent to see the square dancing tractors on the softball field. Then, turn into the tent to compete in a variety of farm-themed games. Throw a rolling pin or wrench, spit watermelon seeds, or test your math skills for the chance to win prizes – including cash.  Many contests allow partners, so sign up with a friend to have a laugh and a memory.

But, the best part of the festival is the people.  Many of the people have been going to this festival since it started.  They grew up in Centerburg, with agricultural backgrounds that they passed to their children.  They make the festival worth it when they stop you to ask about the letters FFA on your back and tell you it was different back in their days.  They keep the history of the village alive and continue to bring it back to us every year.



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