CENTERBURG — The popularity of the Centerburg Oldtime Farming Festival — now in its 19th year — was summed up by Brad Brittenham of Johnstown who was at the festival Sunday afternoon with his wife, Sandra, and daughters, Anna and Ellie.
“We’re having a great time,” he said. “It’s a great place to come and they’ve done an excellent job on keeping the costs low and having free parking. It’s family oriented and a clean environment and it’s just great. We come here every year.”
There was plenty for the kids to do, and eat. Ice cream is always a favorite and the Walters sisters, Macy, 5 and Maggie, 2, from Centerburg, were up to their noses in it.
“We like the ice cream best, me and my sister Maggie,” Macy said.
For Ruth Anne Armbrust of Centerburg it was cake, the natural compliment to ice cream, that was her favorite of the day.
“I won the cake walk,” she said beaming proudly and showing off her cake. “You get a number and every one else gets a number and you walk while they play music. Then you stop when the music stops and if they call out your number you get a cake.”
Armbrust said the cakewalk was her favorite thing at the festival and it obviously was. She was seen later that afternoon carrying two cakes.
Everything from sausage to hamburgers to waffles and elephant ears were available for kids and adults alike.
The success of the festival is no fluke. It takes a lot of hard work and planning.
“We’ve had a good year and good attendance,” said Brian Daniels, OFF treasurer. “I think it’s been overall successful. The vendors are doing well and attendance has been fairly typical and we’ve been enjoying it.
“We’ve been doing it for 19 years,” Daniels said. “It’s a lot of work and we have a board of about 30 members. They work throughout the year organizing the event. And there are more than 100 people who help out over the weekend.”
Matt Payne is one of those board members and is specifically in charge of fundraising.
“I enjoy working with the whole group and enjoy doing something for the whole community,” he said. “We keep it free and we want the kids to have a good time. It’s a good feeling. I have been doing this for 13 or 14 years.”
Payne said the planning goes on for a good part of the year.
“We start usually sometime in February,” he explained. “We meet once a month at first and start organizing and planning at those meetings. In August we start meeting every two weeks.”
Payne said the committee does several things to raise funds for the festival including generating support from local businesses and the pie auction which is the main source of funds.
“We don’t make a profit on it,” Payne said. “Everything we make we put back into the festival or into improving the park.”
Jim Gibson was at the festival on a kind of businessman’s holiday. Gibson is director of the Knox County Historical Museum, which had some items of Knox County’s history on display, but took the time to enjoy the festival.
“I’m enjoying it immensely,” he said. “This is a great place to be on a beautiful Sunday afternoon.”