A poor forecast could not deter fans from the Pioneer Florida Museum & Village’s annual Farm Festival and Quilt Show.
Despite rain, the Feb. 1 event at the Dade City venue drew a large crowd — as people toured the museum and watched demonstrations throughout the day.
Several dozen quilts were on display at the quilt show, and there were table runners and accessories, too. That exhibit was offered in the Mabel Jordan Barn.
Visitors had a chance to vote on their favorite quilts in a “People’s Choice” competition.
They could weigh in on seven different categories, including: machine-pieced quilts, hand-pieced quilts, applique quilts, art quilts, miniature quilts, quilted fashions/accessories, and junior exhibitor.
Winners of each category took home a ribbon, plus bragging rights.
Many of the quilts and accessories also were available to be purchased.
Brenda Grampsas, a certified quilt appraiser, also was there, available to provide written appraisals or verbal evaluations, for a fee.
There were other vendors at the festival, too, offering handmade goods and concessions.
Festival-goers also could see sugar cane grinding and syrup making.
The draft horse pulling contest, presented by the Southern Draft Horse Association, was popular.
Horse pulling is a sport were two draft horses are hitched to a truck equipped with a hydraulic weight machine, called a dynamometer. The horses then pull the weighted machine a short distance. If successful, the team moves on to the next round, and the weight is slightly increased. This process continues until just one team remains.
A total of 37 teams (19 in the lightweight class, 18 in the heavyweight class) took part in the competition. Nearly all the draft horses in the competition are of the Belgian breed, with only one horse being a Percheron.
Thirteen different states, including Florida, were represented in the show. Many teams travelled from as far away as Vermont, Michigan, Illinois, Pennsylvania, Kentucky and New Hampshire.
Terry Yoder, the president of the Southern Draft Horse Association, said that this Dade City competition draws in the “best of the best teams” and that winning is not about the cash prize, it’s about the pride. He also said this year was a special year, because it is the first time that there were four women competing in the sport that is typically dominated by men.
During an intermission – while the crew placed chains on the truck’s tires, due to muddy conditions on the course – announcer Carlene Davis told spectators about the origins of the sport, which date back to the 1920s. The activity was a way to accurately measure horsepower in the days when horses, not machines, did all heavy work around farms, she said.
She also noted how the research data collected in those days helped farmers subsequently produce a more powerful draft horse.
And, she noted that modern-day horse pulls remain a valuable part of our agricultural history.
Published February 05, 2020
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