FAIRFIELD COUNTY — The 2015 Catawba Regional Ag+Art Tour — the nation’s largest free, self-guided farm tour — combined agriculture and artistic culture for a second successful year in Fairfield County this past weekend.
“This is the big weekend,” said Ernest Manning, manager of the Fairfield County Farmers Market and vice chairman for Fairfield County’s Ag +Art planning committee. “We’re excited.”
Six sites and six ancillary sites in Fairfield County were included as stops in the 2015 Catawba Regional Ag+Art Tour.
The Ag+Art Tour sites were open Saturday and Sunday, but the event kicked off Thursday with jazz and barbecue at Mission Ridge Golf Course and Retreat.
The event featured booths previewing the sights and tastes of Fairfield County and jazz performed by Eboniramm and Richard Maxwell.
“Music is an art,” said Terry Vickers, president of Fairfield County Chamber of Commerce and chair for Fairfield County’s Ag +Art planning committee. “We’re very excited to have Eboni Ram and Richard Maxwell.”
Eboniramm said she was happy to bring poetry-influenced smooth jazz to Fairfield County and hopes to perform in the area more frequently.
“I’m trying to bring more jazz to Fairfield County,” Eboniramm said.
Saturday from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and Sunday from 1 p.m. to 5 p.m. hundreds of people visited Celtic Lane Farm, Ee-oh-lay Farm, Elder Farms, Fairfield County Farmers Market, The She Garden at the Painted Picket and Royal Greens.
Each location featured artistic activities and demonstrations, but no site was more hands-on than Fairfield County Farmers Market at the Winnsboro Town Clock.
Heather Wild provided pudding, crumbled Oreos and Gummi Worms to children allowing them to create cups of mud, and Billie “The Bird Man” Harrison led a birdhouse building seminar.
Deanna Bass, 13, cobbled together a birdhouse under Harrison’s supervision. Bass was not intimidated by the task.
“I was in an industrial tech class in seventh grade,” Bass said.
However, while driving a nail Bass noticed the wood was beginning to splinter. Harrison brushed off the concern.
“We’re not building a watch,” Harrison said. “We’re building a birdhouse.”
Almost universally, participating sites said more Ag+Art tourists had come through than expected.
“We’ve had more than 100 people,” said Kensey Elder, owner of Elder Farms.
Danny Kingsmore, owner of Celtic Lane Farm, said his farm and replica 1940s general store had seen a similar level of activity.
“It’s been busy,” Kingsmore said.
Kingsmore said he was happy to have visitors to his farm and antique general store filled with antiques from the 1930s and 1940s. The store also functions as a kitchen and barbecue was on the menu for hungry tourists.
The inspiration for Kingsmore’s Mercantile came from relatives.
“I had grandparents and great-grandparents who had an old store,” Kingsmore said.
Visitors at Celtic Lane Farm were able to paint gourds.
Chip Harriford of Royal Greens said he was surprised by the number of people who had traveled to Ridgeway to visit the hydroponic farm.
“We’ve had over 100 people,” Harriford said. “It’s been really fun.”
Cindy Zeigler from Chester County was among the Ag +Art tourists traversing Fairfield County.
“We’re going to Lancaster, Fairfield and Union,” Zeigler said. “We’re doing things we haven’t done before.”
Zeigler said she enjoyed the uniqueness of the Painted Picket. “I haven’t see much like it,” Zeigler said.
York, Union, Chester and Lancaster counties also participated in this year’s Ag + Art Tour.