This is the 44nd Annual Jackson County Farm City Day on Friday, with the first one was held in 1973. The idea arose for a Farm City Day from a growing nationwide movement. It was the latest thing in rural chamber of commerce organizations, to enlist the aid of the county extension, or county agriculture agents, in creating a celebration of agribusiness that everyone could participate in and enjoy. There are Farm City days held all over the US, always during the week sometime in November, prior to Thanksgiving.
Woodrow “Coonbottom” Glenn, who served as extension director for Jackson County from 1950 to 1975 was close to retirement but was key in putting the initial Farm City Days together. Although the late Mr. Glenn was retiring when the Farm City day was just beginning, he could be seen at the annual event for decades afterwards—cooking, serving, speaking at the podium and socializing. Initially, the Farm City celebration was the biggest event in Jackson County, especially the evening cook-outs at the Agriculture Center on US 90 West. Hundreds of people from scores of civic groups prepared the food and baked the cakes and put on the event. More than 1,000 attended the first event in 1973, held at the Armory prior to it moving to the Agriculture Center next door.
Coonbottom and his successor from 1975 to 1985, Leonard Cobb, put together and selected the Farmer of the Year Awards, as does Doug Mayo and his office today. Other founders of the local event were Robert Earl Standland, Daun Crews and Charlie Brown.
The event was revitalized in 2006 by a move that was at first unpopular among many of the older fans. The nighttime banquet that was the source of most of the work was ended by Chamber of Commerce President Art Kimbrough and became a breakfast instead—at 7 o’clock in the morning, on a Friday. Kimbrough also had the chamber takeover the event, relieving the special committee of the rest of its burdens.
Critics predicted that those changes would surely doom the event but they did not and in the following years it was shown that the changes probably saved the event. Recently, the banquet room at the Agriculture Center on Penn Avenue has been packed every year with 350 to 400 as the show goes on—and it has become better since last year. Two years ago, the event was moved to Rivertown Community Church for the breakfast with the remainder of the events being held elsewhere. The top producers for corn, cotton, hay, and peanuts will be recognized along with many other accomplishments by our agricultural industry in Jackson County. The 2017 Outstanding Farm Family will be recognized also.
Activities throughout the two-day event include an antique tractor drive, a display of tractors at Madison Street Park, a parade of tractors, lawn mower pull, antique tractor pull, various booths and vendors will be at the agricultural center.