The 38th Annual Bright Leaf Hoedown – A Focus on Agriculture of Many Kinds …

With several initiatives stemming from the agriculture-based economy here in Caswell County, like the Piedmont Community College CEAD (Center for Education and Agriculture Development) and the shared working space opening later this year on the Square, now is a good time for the hoedown to take on a new life.  The CEAD in Pelham will house classrooms, incubator farms and other space for agriculture related tenants. The new center on the square will provide local entrepreneurs and creators a place to work and gather with high speed internet as well as meeting space for others in the community.  The anchor tenant,, is an ag based technology company that is choosing to invest their future in Caswell County.  

So now is the perfect time for the annual festival to be reignited as a new life in the County is evident.  Replacing the ‘ho hum’ of the hoedown, is a new excitement across the county as many community members are involved in planning the event to get the ‘low down’ on the hoedown!   As the county slogan reads, we do want to ‘Preserve the Past’ by paying homage to the traditional tobacco growing, curing and marketing but we also plan to ‘Embrace the Future’ as the community begins to embrace more of the various ag endeavors that are a part of farming in Caswell.  

With the Hoedown planned to be on ‘The Square’ as it once was years in the past, there will be agriculture exhibits, crafters and artisans arranged there.  The classic car show will be very close by and two stages of performing entertainers are scheduled for the day.   

The agriculture portion of the event is to be the highlight as an effort to represent both traditional agriculture row crops that have sustained the county for years and smaller sustainable family farms that are contributing to the local food movement.  The growth of just this population (interested in the local food-farm to table movement) within a 60-mile radius of Caswell, is waiting for our farmers to provide the naturally grown and organic food for which a premium is paid.  As the farm to table fans clamor for the produce and livestock our farmers produce, we are sure to see positive results in the county. 

The ag exhibits will include a free-range chicken demonstration, forestry as a crop exhibit and beekeeping demonstration with live bees. Also being coordinated at the time of this writing is a mushroom, hemp and alpaca farmers. A ‘combine simulator’ will be there for all ages and information on hemp is included due to the significant interest in Caswell County.  Contact has been made with the cattlemen’s and soybean associations too. And, of course, tobacco will be represented as many acres are still being grown here. Caswell County Cooperative Extension will be there and visitors will have the opportunity to meet the new Country Extension Director.

The ‘Kids Kountry’ area will host the popular Farm Olympics and the Bartlett Yancey FFA has agreed to assist with a petting zoo.  In addition, the forestry team will provide an interactive activity for the youngsters to learn more about fire prevention.  Demonstrations of 4-H agriculture-based activities will be provided to help connect youngsters with their food. An obstacle course provided by the National Guard and a Corn Hole Tournament with a 1st place prize of $500 (sponsored by Ace Home & Building Center) will be available for all ages.

Lots of tasty local food will be present at the event with our culinary experts from area churches, Ruritans, and fire departments preparing the feasts.  A select few of Caswell entrepreneurs that operate food trucks will be interspersed around the festival too.

The festival is a free event to the general public and is organized by the Caswell County Chamber of Commerce, a 501c (3) nonprofit. Visit and click on ‘Events’ for updated details and band schedule.  We look forward to seeing you on Saturday September 21 at 9am for the National Anthem & Opening Ceremonies and invite you to spend the day with us as we tribute agriculture! 

As published in The Caswell Messenger Ag Chat - August 24, 2019

Written by AC Hodges