“The antique tractor and farm equipment displays, featuring a daily tractor parade, and the Homegrown Marketplace presented by Lowes Foods are two of the unique highlights of the festival,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “We have one of the largest antique tractor displays in the Southeast, and the marketplace features around 100 North Carolina companies and the delicious food and beverage products they offer.”
Visitors can see tractors parade around the fairgrounds each day at 1 p.m., with all makes, ages and restorations of tractors featured.
New entertainment this year includes Dan Dan The Farmer Man, a roving grounds act; Everything that Matters in the Kitchen cooking show; and Ready, Set Grow Agri-tainment Magic Show. Returning favorites are the racing pigs of the Hogway Speedway, Lauryn Zepeda with Gringo the Trick Pony, the Pig Patch birthing center, tractor pulls and the Kids Corral activity area.
Tractor pull events are planned for Saturday and Sunday. A Kids Pedal Tractor Pull will take place at 11 a.m. Saturday, with the Antique Tractor Pull later from 2 to 8 p.m. A Garden Tractor and Lawnmower Pull will be held Sunday from 2 to 8 p.m.
The carnival features one price, ride-all-day wristbands on Friday and Sunday. Cost is $20 for wristbands. In addition, a fireworks show will be held Friday and Saturday at 9:15 p.m.
On May 19, the festival will host the Carolina Bluegrass Battle. Traditional and contemporary bluegrass bands will compete for bragging rights and prizes. Also on May 19, the 13th Annual Masonic Carolina Pig Jig BBQ Cook off will be held, with more than 25 Masonic chapters competing for top honors. At 11 a.m., the event opens to the public for an all-you-care-to-eat barbecue buffet. Guests make their way through the line-up of competition cookers to sample different styles and vote for their favorite. Cost is $15 for adults, $5 for ages 7-10 and free for kids 6 and under. Proceeds from the cookoff benefit the Masonic Home for Children at Oxford.
Festival hours are Friday, May 18, from noon to 10 p.m.; Saturday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to 10 p.m. and Sunday, May 20, from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Admission and parking are free. More information is available at www.gottobencfestival.com.