This year will mark the 35th year for the Annual John R. Simon Sorghum Festival, where ‘sorghum makin’ is the center of it all. The Festival which is one of the area’s biggest events will be held Sept. 30-Oct. 2 at the John R. Simon 5th Generation Family Farm.
Traditions are preserved at The John R. Simon Fifth Generation Family Farm, located at 8721 Pond Creek/Carey’s Run Road in Portsmouth. Simon, said many people have their very first farm experience at his farm.
“I live on a farm, and schools come out and visit, and teachers have often said to me that it is the first time that one of their students has ever been in on a farm in their entire life,” Simon said. “So, I know that many people come there to see a farm for the first time, and some come because they grew up on one, and want to see one again and they want to see sorghum being made, because people don’t do that much any more.”
There is a variety of good music, and music performances that are offered at the Sorghum Festival.
“We have a lot of good music, acoustic, because we don’t use any electricity and there is an awful lot of people that want to come and play music along with everybody or listen, and see what all of the artists have to offer, the vendors,” he said. “The people like to buy a lot of things out there because the vendors tell me they do.”
One of the event highlights will be a mural of sorghum making by the popular artist and muralist, Robert L. Dafford.
“Dafford has made all of these murals around here, and so I hired him to make one of the farm of us making sorghum,” he said. “So when you get to my farm you will see a building there with mural, on it of us working on the farm that Dafford did. It is kind of unusual I guess to have a hidden mural out in the country.”
Among the host of refreshments are Susan’s Honey, homemade apple cider, pickled corn, pumpkins/gourds and squash, homemade jams and preserves, Bea’s hot dog sauce, sorghum cookies and popcorn balls, just to name a few.
Attendees will have the opportunity to enjoy, dancing, singing, grapevine wreath making, horse and wagon rides, hand quilting and wall hangings, egg art, home made soap making, basket weaving and chair caning, and candle making.
The Mountain Dulcimers will be performing and provide musical instructions.Russell and Mark Hoffer’s 1918 Fairbanks-Morris stationary engine, The Ohio State University Extension Office will provide safety, cooking, children’s games and puppets. The Portsmouth Public Library Local History staff will also be a part.
The 35th Annual John R. Simon Sorghum Festival is free and open to the public.
“It doesn’t cost anything to get in, or to park, and you come and stay all day if you want to, and not even spend a penny,” he said.
Reach Portia Williams at 740-464-3862, or on Twitter @PortiaWillPDT.