For the next three days, Aug. 7-9, people from across the region will flock to a small, rural location known as the Gilfillan Estate for what is one of the largest farm shows held in the United States.
Known as Farmfest, the event brings in experts in a range of fields to share the latest information with the public, the latest in technology for those in the industry and the opportunity for those who belong to the institution known as agriculture to come together to interconnect and learn from each other.
Farmfest has a long history in Minnesota.
What started in 1972 near Vernon Center has grown dramatically over the years, with stops in Lake Crystal and Austin before making its way to Redwood County where the first show was held in 1994.
What that means is the 2018 show will be the 25th time the event has been held at Gilfillan.
Many had a hand in bringing the show to the Gilfillan site, arguing at the time that southwest Minnesota was “the heart of midwestern agriculture” and the Redwood area, which could boast some of the most productive land in the state, was, from their perspective, the ideal location for the farm show.
Then owner Marlyn Buss agreed, packed up the show and brought it to Redwood County.
Over the past 25 years there have been plenty of changes to the annual, three-day show, and the show itself has changed hands.
Today the show is operated by the IDEAg Group LLC, and it continues work to improve the show each year.
This year’s event includes a variety of events that have become a tradition, including the Tuesday sweet corn feed starting at 11:45 a.m., the Wednesday morning pancake breakfast starting at 8 a.m. and the Farm Family of the Year program Thursday at 1:15 p.m.
This year some new things will be offered to Farmfest attendees, including the new Farm Bureau Financial Services rural lifestyle pavilion. That feature offers family, friendly options for those at Farmfest.
“We are thrilled with the addition of the Farm Bureau Financial Services rural lifestyle pavilion to Farmfest and appreciate the company’s continued innovation and support,” said Amy LaTessa, Farmfest show director in a recent press release. “Together, we focus on health, safety and fun for the entire family.”
In the pavilion there are some daily activities being held, including:
• The Color My Farm Mural, which is a 16’X5’ mural that will allow those attending a chance to add their creative genius.
• Daily pig races at 11 a.m. and 2:30 p.m.
• Kids yoga
The traditional kids pedal pull will also be held in the pavilion this year each day at 1 p.m.
The Farm Safety 4 Just Kids program is also being offered in the pavilion.
LaTessa said the intent is to help make Farmfest an event for the entire family.
In addition, there will be a series of presentations in the main forum building, with candidates for Minnesota offices, including the governor, the two open U.S. Senate seats and several members of Congress, answering questions.
With the primary election taking place one week from the first day of Farmfest, this event is providing an opportunity for the public, in one location, to learn more about all of the candidates who will be vying to have their name on the November ballot.
The complete forum schedule may be found on the Farmfest Web site.
Tuesday will also kick off with a new addition – the performance of the National Anthem by Emma Sullivan of Franklin. A contest was conducted earlier this summer, with the winner having the opportunity at 8:15 a.m. Tuesday to open the show with the singing of the National Anthem.
Demonstrations of the latest in technology will be offered for attendees, and with 500 exhibitors on site for the three-day show, there will be plenty of things to look at, learn about and potentially even purchase.
The show opens each day at 8 a.m. Tuesday Farmfest comes to a close at 5 p.m., with the show closing at 4 p.m. Wednesday and Thursday.
The cost of admission to Farmfest has been reduced for 2018.
On-site admission is $10, with those 17 and under getting in for free.
One can purchase advance tickets for $8.
To learn more about Farmfest and this year’s show, visit www.farmfest.com.