Reaching out to the next generation

Farmers Parade raises ag awareness, interest

By Kevin Spradlin

* Photo gallery – more than 2,000 pics!
* Farmers Day 5K coverage

ELLERBE — It was a little after 10:30 a.m. Saturday, nearly 30 minutes still before the start of the 19th annual Farmers

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Parade along Main Street in Ellerbe.

And 12-month-old Raelyn Moore already had her seat staked out.

With a chill in the air — the outside temperature was not quite 55 degrees in the sun, though it’d exceed 60 later in the day — Raelyn opted for the best, warmest available seat. That happened to be in the front of her mother’s vehicle.

“It’s her first time,” said her mom, Meagan Mullen, of Hamlet, while seating in her heated vehicle in the parking lot outside the Food King grocery store. “I think she’s gonna” like it.

It was difficult to tell what was Raelyn’s favorite — the pomp and circumstance of the Richmond Raiders Marching Band, the sirens of area rescue vehicles, candy thrown from old-time tractors and classic cars or the horses. By and large, though, everyone seemed to have a good time.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Spectators lined both sides of Main Street from Ballard Street to beyond Food King. Dozens of parade entrants, from Mayor Lee Berry, Councilman Jean Fletcher, Little Miss Richmond County Cate Kinsey and state Senator-elect Tom McInnis to  representatives from Grant, CS Smith, Lovin, Sandhills and Graves farms, lined up to the crowd’s delight. Parade participants, including Grand Marshal Johnny Williams of Rocky Ridge Farm, staged near First Presbyterian Church on Ballard Street, across from Ellerbe Middle School, waiting for the Richmond County sheriff’s deputy to lead from the front.

Fire and rescue units from Ellerbe, Northside, Rockingham, Mountain Creek, Derby and Candor participated, as did the

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

North Carolina Forest Service and Smokey Bear.

Civic and youth organizations in the lineup — not an all-inclusive list — included Girl Scout Troop 543, Richmond County 4-H Livestock Club, Moore County Sand T’s Shrine Club, Boy Scout Troop 1215, Cub Scout Pack 527, Mount Carmel Freewill Baptist Church youth group, Girl Scout Troop 406 and Marine Corps Reserve Toys for Tots.

Laurie Lovin enjoyed her second venture to the Ellerbe parade. She wondered why she hadn’t been but once.

“I’ve been living under a rock,” Lovin, of Hamlet, surmised.

She had a personal stake in this one: her 4-year-old granddaughter, Nealey, was riding on one of the Northside Volunteer Fire Department trucks.

Sandy Robson, meanwhile, was happy to have any vantage point from which to view the parade. Any seat in the house, the Rockingham woman said, is fine with her. This year, she sat in the back of her pick-up truck across the street from Family Dollar. It was a place better than some, she said, as there was room for 8-year-old Lexie Oxendine to run and play out of traffic.

Kevin Spradlin |

Kevin Spradlin |

Lexi hit the big time. She scored some loot. While she came prepared to fend for herself for the day with a plastic lunch baggie filled with snacks, it was empty all too soon. Thanks to her prowess of retrieving candy thrown from parade floats, she had the bag stuffed with suckers and Tootsie Rolls as she climbed in the truck to head home.



Filed in: Latest Headlines, Outdoors

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