By Alexis Yovanno, Intern
(Aug. 2, 2019) Farmers and more than 2,000 festival goers will gather for the 21st annual Blessing of the Combines, this Saturday, on Bank, Washington and Green streets in Snow Hill.
Each year during the event a blessing is bestowed upon the farmers for a safe and good harvest season.
Attendees throughout the day can learn from the farmers by interacting with them and exploring their machinery.
Sunrise Church Praise will perform from 10-11 a.m. on the main stage on Green Street to kick off the festivities.
Down the streets, take part in activities such as corn hole and face painting.
Vendors will offer an assortment of food, including seafood, hot dogs, hamburgers, pork, and dessert.
Church and school groups will host bake sales and the Snow Hill Fire Department will sell barbecue chicken. Crafters will feature jewelry and artwork, among other items. To participate, contact Diana Nolte at 443-944-4402 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
“It’s a fun day for families to come out and to learn more about farming,” Nolte, a Blessing of the Combines committee member, said.
The Parade of Combines will start around 11 a.m. down Route 12 to Green Street. It will begin with different types of farming machinery and conclude with combines.
At the end of the parade, horse drawn and single row picker combines will lead the procession ahead of the modern day combines.
Those interested in participating in the parade should register by 10 a.m. at the Worcester County Liquor Control Board on Route 12 the day of the event.
The band, Tydewater, will play following the parade from 12-3 p.m. on the main stage on Green Street.
After all the combines park on Green Street, the master of ceremonies will introduce the combines and their drivers.
The Throttle Thrust ritual will hype the crowd up as the drivers rev their engines. The loud roaring will kick off the opening ceremonies featuring Capt. Willie Dykes, of WBOC’s Outdoor Delmarva, and Steve Hales, festival announcer.
Snow Hill Mayor Charlie Dorman will welcome guests during the ceremony and the award-winning Snow Hill High School Junior Marine Corps ROTC will presents the colors.
Non-denominational blessings will be offered and the ceremony will end with a dove release to honor farmers.
Activities for children include the opportunity to touch farm animals at a petting barnyard, free pony rides, hay rides, tractor pulling rides, exploring combines and interacting with farmers.
Other activities include beach bouncing houses, corn hole games, face painting and clowns.
A Scales-N-Tales presentation will take place on the river in Sturgis Park by Lower Shore Land Trust, featuring animals that cannot be released back into the wild. Guests can see an eagle, hawk and raptors.
The Discovery Center Museum of Pocomoke will also be down by the river showcasing turtles and snakes.
The annual Wheels That Heal car show will take place on River Street from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Dash plaques will be given to the first 100 registered cars. Trophies will be presented to the best cars, which will be judged by the participants.
Registration will begin at 9 a.m. The cost is $15. If participating, plan to arrive before the parade.
All the money Wheels That Heal makes will be donated to local charities.
The Payne family of Snow Hill started the festival that celebrates farmers and blesses them for a successful harvest season.
Becky Payne said one day about 21 years ago she was sitting with a group of people and they were trying to come up with something to honor local farmers.
Payne began asking the farmers who came into her Western Auto store what they thought of the idea. Payne said they thought she had “lost her mind” for wanting to put on an event, but agreed to help.
She reminisced on the early days of the event where the combines used to be too big to fit over the Pocomoke River bridge.
“It still brings tears to my eyes seeing the combines come down the street,” Payne said.
For more information, contact Payne at 443-783-1715 or email email@example.com. Visit blessingofthecombines.org or search Blessing of the Combines on Facebook.