BY MIRANDA WHITWORTH Contributing writer
With Buttonwillow's rich agricultural legacy taking center stage, the Fall Farm Festival is an event that promises a feast for the eyes, ears and the stomach.
The town effort kicks off at 7 a.m. Saturday with a pancake breakfast at the Anita Merlo Community Center and lasts through the evening with music and entertainment for the whole family at Buttonwillow Park. Buttonwillow Chamber of Commerce Secretary Gloria Selvidge is a native of the farming community and is helping man the festival.
Fall Farm Festival
Buttonwillow Park, 8:30 a.m to 10 p.m.; information on all events: 764-5406
Partial list of events:
Pioneer Senior Citizens Pancake Breakfast: 7 a.m. to 10 a.m., Anita Menlo Community Center; $5, includes pancakes, sausage, coffee and orange juice.
Fall Farm Festival Parade: 11 a.m; begins at Buttonwillow School ends at Buttonwillow Park.
Bill Brannon third Annual Car Show: 8:30 a.m. to 1 p.m. Buttonwillow Park
Buttonwillow School Running Club 5k Run: 8 to 9 a.m; registration is $20 day of; information: 764-5248
Deep-pit barbecue lunch: noon to 3 p.m., Buttonwillow Park; $10
She knows if a visitor wants to see what Buttonwillow is really all about, the Fall Farm Festival is the best way to do it.
"This event really started way back to celebrate the fall cotton harvest. But now we are so much more than that. We put this event on every year as a way to say thank you to all of our businesses and the people who live here that make this place special."
Selvidge remembers taking part in the Fall Farm Festival as a child, displaying animals with other local kids in the pet parade. It's a part of the event, that much like the town itself, has evolved over the years.
"Well, now, the parade has everything. Big animals, tractors, lots of cars, floats and all kinds of stuff. Everyone lines the street to watch and follows it into Buttonwillow Park."
While many attendees rush the park following the parade, the festivities there will be well under way. Beginning at 8:30 a.m., Buttonwillow Park is the stage for the main event: vendor and food booths, an amusement area stocked with games and entertainment for kids, The Bill Brannon third Annual Memorial Car Show, a performance from the Mike Montano Band and more.
For Selvidge, the afternoon meal in the park is the part of the festival she is hungry for all year long. That's when the traditional deep pit beef barbecue lunch is served and it's a meal that for many attendees is worth the months of anticipation.
"I don't know why it's so good, it's just a deep pit lunch. Maybe it's the seasonings they use or the sauce. Maybe it's just the experience of being out there at the festival in the park and eating it. But honestly it's the best thing you'll ever have."
But even more than the food, it's the tradition folks love.
"The whole town comes out and we celebrate each other. We are a small town and we love our small town feel. We just like to party in a big way."