Inman Farm Heritage Days, an annual September celebration of an important and often forgotten Fayette County and rural Georgia lifestyle, will return this weekend for the 15th year.
The events will take place on the Minter Farm, approximately five miles south of Fayetteville on Hills Bridge Rd. just off Highway 92 South. Admission is free.
“I think it says something for the show and the people who participate in it, whether as volunteer helpers or as interested guests, that after a decade and a half the mission is unchanged,” said Rick Minter, who founded the festival on his family farm in 1997. “That mission,” he points out, “is simply to recognize the farm heritage of the Inman community and Fayette County.”
Minter says he is especially pleased that the three-day event has been able to maintain a free admission policy throughout its history. This has been possible because of volunteer workers and by sales of souvenir T-shirts and programs and by donations.
“We’ve got some great supporters who work really hard getting ready for the show,” he said. “They even spend their own money to help defray expenses. To me, that goes back to the ways people helped each other in the old farming days when neighbors pitched in to help neighbors. It says to me that old-time values are still alive and well and being passed on to later generations in Inman and Fayette County.”
Minter said the reality of the Inman farm heritage is evident from the cover of this year’s Heritage Days program. Mickey Harp and his two sons are on the cover. They represent the sixth and seventh generation of Harp Inman family farmers in the Inman and Harp’s Crossing communities.
“That’s why these three days are about more than just looking at old tractors and engines and watching grain being thrashed and syrup being made,” Minter said. “Heritage Days are a teaching experience, and where values are concerned, they are a preserving experience.”
The show opens at 9 a.m. Friday (Sept. 16) and continues through Sunday (Sept. 19).
An added attraction this year will be Story-Telling in Miss Quinnie’s Cabin, built in the 1870s in the north part of Fayette County. It was donated in the first years of the Heritage Days by Abner and Claudine Oakley. Taken apart log-by-log and stone–by-stone, it was moved to the Inman site and carefully reassembled. John Drake, a master mason from Inman, rebuilt the stone chimney exactly as it was when first constructed.
Other attractions are broom making, an operating cotton gin, an 1930s era hand-fed threshing machine, a grist mill, a blacksmith shop, syrup making, a 100-year old print shop, a sawmill, a pea thresher, a weaving room and a cider press.
In recent years, antique automobiles and trucks have been added to the hundreds of tractors and various kinds of engines on display. Guests can visit a one-room schoolhouse, known as the Butler School in the early 1900s when it was located north of Fayetteville. There also is a small building that once housed a country store on Tyrone Rd. west of Fayetteville.
One of the more popular exhibits is a liquor still, demonstrated by the family of the late Clarence Betsill. Whiskey making is also a part of Fayette County rural history, especially in hard Depression times when small farmers were desperate to feed and clothe their families with what they could produce with a mule and a hoe.
The show features a number of food vendors. “We have pedal tractor races for kids and crafts on sale for adults,” Minter says. “We try to have something for the entire family.”
Alcoholic beverages are not permitted. Handicap parking is available as well as wagon shuttles from parking lots. Parking is free.
Another highlight of the weekend is the Sunday morning worship service; At 9 a.m. on Sunday morning the Inman United Methodist Church holds a worship service in a wooded area on the site where brush arbor services were held nearly 200 years ago. Rev. Ray Camp, pastor of Inman United Methodist Church, will preach. The public is invited.
Directions from Fayetteville
Take Highway 92 South toward Griffin. Proceed 4 miles to Hills Bridge Rd. (Watch for Methodist Church sign and U.S. flag on left, Country Store on right.) Take left on Hills Bridge. Follow signs and instructions from parking attendants.