The last two weekends have been filled with fun activities and agricultural history. The 25th annual Bostwick Cotton Gin Festival was held November 1st. We have the pleasure of being a small sponsor of this event by giving out promotional items related to cotton as well as being on hand to answer questions (most attendees are not from the farm). The Gin Festival starts out each year with a 5k run followed by a downtown festival with food vendors, arts & crafts, antique tractors, etc. Like most festivals there was a parade of mostly antique tractors and local elected officials. The best part of the day was seeing folks walk through the gin while it was running. People were able to ask questions and see exactly how seeds are removed from lint and how the lint is baled. It was amazing seeing people’s reactions when you explain the ginning process. I guess everyone learns about Eli Whitney in school but people don’t really understand what a cotton gin does and how important the invention was and is to the agricultural industry. Despite the cold weather, I believe there were several thousand people in attendance at the festival and the gin had just about 1000 people walk through and see cotton being ginned.
On November 7th and 8th Evans County GA kicked off it’s Centennial Celebration Week with a two day Ag and Forestry History Celebration. The event was set up at the Evans County Wildlife Club pavilion with displays for cotton, peanuts, tobacco, tractors, soda shops, EMCs, and anything else that relates rural life for the last 100 years. The event was open to the public and Friday was filled with Evans County elementary school children. Cotton had a major presence as we were able to set up a display of seed cotton, cottonseed, and cotton lint for kids to touch as they came by. We also had plenty of educational information to give to the children to help them learn about cotton. Outside were displays of old tractors, old cotton scales, new tractors, and both types of modules. Inside we also were able to show some old photographs of cotton being hand-picked and being plowed with a mule. The most telling thing to me were the graphs we had showing the acres vs. bales produced in GA for the last 100+ years. It is very evident when boll weevil hit hard in GA and Evans County went to almost 0 acreage in the hardest times in the 1980s. Fortunately it was able to recover and is now a vibrant industry once again for the region. This was just one of many stories that could be told of the 100 year history of agriculture in Evans County.