Farm to Fun in Henry County

Though it seems that times have never been moving faster, Jakob Beckley and the rest of the committee of this year’s Henry County Harvest Showcase are aiming to work against the trend and encourage folks to have a little fun along the way.

Beckley may have only just graduated high school, but that hasn’t stopped this enterprising young man from standing up and taking a leadership position in his community. “I’m headed to Lindsey Wilson College this fall, and for the past few years, I’ve been very active in the community with Relay For Life, the Fair and different things,” he says.

thumbnail_DSC_1010The Henry County Harvest Showcase is now in its 17th year, meaning that the event has been a staple in Beckley’s community for most of his life. “The way I explain it is a lot of towns have their day. Simpsonville has Simpsonville Day and Middletown has Middletown Day. It’s a way to showcase our rural community and our pride in our rural community. We’re proud of the things we produce.”

And Beckley has fond memories of this display. Since attending with his grandfather as a child, Beckley grew up taking in the different vendors and demonstrations. When he had the opportunity to help continue something that had brought such joy to his childhood and that of others in Henry County, he simply could not resist.

Now in his second year on the committee and serving as the marketing chairperson, Beckley has made it his personal mission to work with others to raise money and market the Showcase. “We are totally donation funded. Our nonprofit receives a grant from the Kentucky Agricultural Development Fund. It’s an amazing event,” asserts Beckley. “Something special about the Harvest Showcase is that you have to be from Henry County to set up.”

That’s right. Everything at the Showcase is from Henry County, including all livestock products and other produce. “Although some of the vendors are not based in Henry County, the food is,” explains Beckley, “Let’s say there’s a man selling barbecue. We work with him to find him a cattle producer, to find a cow in Henry County to slaughter and harvest for him for the attendees of Harvest Showcase. We have to support our local farmers and give them an outlet to support their produce and make money.”

In addition to the vendors, Henry County Harvest Showcase also displays the wares of local craftspeople. These items include various sundries such as belts, quilts, brooms and soaps. Anything you can think of that is tied to the rural community is present. Demonstrations on how to create some of these items is of the utmost importance to Beckley. “It’s the biggest thing that I’m trying to promote this year,” he says. “Just different things that people can come and learn about. It’s a great educational day for those from Louisville and other big cities in the state. Come out and see where your food is grown.”

The committee of the Showcase definitely wants to promote the significance of farming and other agricultural pursuits, but it also wants attendees to have a good time. There’s a tractor pull and parade as well as a host of animals to fawn over or even buy. “Along with the food and everything, we have a pretty fair lineup of entertainment under our mainstage,” Beckley boasts. Attendees can sit, enjoy their food and listen to some music from the high school marching band and local music groups, hear stories read aloud by employees of the Henry County Public Library and so much more.

And it’s all free. “We live in a rural community and not many people have a lot of money,” offers Beckley. “This is just an event where it’s free for everyone and the kids can have fun.” While admitting that the committee would like attendees to spend money and buy products at the Showcase in order to fund the event for the next year, Beckley stresses that it’s not a necessity. “If you don’t want to, you can still have a great time. Just enjoy yourself, eat some good farm-to-table food and have a great day.”

The 17th Annual Henry County Harvest Showcase is Saturday, July 30 from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. at 1106 Castle Highway, Eminence, KY.

Courtesy photos