What began as a day of fun for a group of local farmers quickly developed into a major fundraiser that has now assisted many people in the area.
Whitley County’s Plow Day started in 2006 with a group of farmers in South Whitley area who wanted to get together and plow, according to Beth Ann Sickafoose.
“It was just a bunch of farmers getting together to begin with,” Sickafoose said. “Then it turned into a benefit.”
A month before the event, the late Becca Hollenbaugh niece of Steve Sickafoose (Beth Ann’s husband) and Don King, was just diagnosed with stomach cancer.
A day of plowing evolved into a Rally for Rebecca. Proceeds were used to help her family with medical expenses. Since then, the committee has continued to combine a day in the fields, a variety of events, food, and a benefit to help someone in our county.
Committee members are Steve Sickafoose, Don King, Roy Rubrake, Stan Studebaker, Doug Reiff, Stan Sickafoose, Marcus Schwartz, Mike Schwartz, Johnny Graber, and Sam Schwartz – the same people who started the event in 2006.
Over the years volunteers, friends and other community groups have lent a hand. Last year more than 225 volunteers helped to man this event last year. And, it couldn’t continue without the visitors on that day, too.
Back on September 16, 2006, 70 modern, antique and vintage tractors along with horse and pony plow teams turned under 160 acres on the Doug and Terri Reiff farm on CR 1000S.
Baked goods provided by the Amish quickly sold out. Buggy rides were quite popular with visitors showing much interest in the horses and accompanying equipment.
The first hog roast fed more than 700 people. Sickafoose said plates are counted to determine the number of lunch attendees.
Last year more than 2,000 plates were provided at lunch time and not everyone stops for lunch.
The event has grown by leaps and bounds until now there are craft tents, apple cider making, demonstrations, a large tent where produce is sold and a long line for lunch. That long moves quickly, though.
This year’s event is this Saturday, September 24.
Plow Day 2011 hosts are Willie and Susie Hilty. Their property is four miles south of South Whitley. Go south on SR 105 to CR 1000s, then west three-fourths of a mile. Follow the signs.
This year’s event benefits Rylie Powell, 4, who is undergoing a stem cell - bone marrow transplant. At the age of 2 she was diagnosed as having severe combine immune deficiency syndrome which means her body doesn’t process infections well.
The committee will also give to the South Whitley Area Emergency Food Bank and the Shrine van fund.
The tractors and horse teams begin plowing at 9 a.m. There are wagon rides to the field. The Amish bake sale begins at 9 a.m., too.
At 9:30 a.m. pony rides, children games, apple-butter and cider making, blacksmithing, cream separating, rope-making and other handcraft demonstrations start.
Lunch starts at 10:30 a.m. featuring pulled pork from the roasted hog, whole hog sausage sandwiches with homemade potato salad, baked beans along with chips, drinks along with homemade desserts and soft ice cream. From 11-1 p.m. Sunbeam the clown visits with his balloon creations. A new event is the pull against two work horses starting at about 12:30 p.m.
An adult cornhole competiton is at 1 p.m.
Tractors and teams are on display at noon. At 1 p.m. the plowing resumes. Plowing continues until the fields are finished.