Inman Farm Heritage Days this weekend
For the past 15 years the organizers of Inman Farm Heritage Days have strived to ensure that the three-day event remain true to its roots and be a time of honoring the farm heritage of the Inman community and Fayette County.
This year’s 16th annual show, which will be held Friday through Sunday (Sept. 21-23) on the Minter Farm in Inman, again will showcase the tractors and equipment that once worked the fields around the show grounds at 283 Hill’s Bridge Road.
Featured on the cover of this year’s souvenir program are two long-time show participants from the nearby community of Brooks – brothers Travis and Al Hardy.
The Hardys are long-time residents of Brooks, and even in retirement they’re still working their farm, which has been in their family for about 100 years.
Through the years, they’ve been good stewards of the soil and of their equipment, as evidenced by the like-new condition of the Allis-Chalmers and John Deere tractors they’ll have on display this weekend in Inman.
Both tractors were brought to the Hardy farm when new and have never left the property, other than an annual trip up the road to be put on display at Inman Farm Heritage Days.
Travis Hardy has worked as a banker, postal carrier, crop surveyor and helped run a farmer’s co-op in Fayetteville, all the while never missing a year of farming.
“I came home from work and farmed ‘til midnight almost all my life,” Travis said.
He also found time to spend decades serving the farming community as a director and president of the Fayette County Farm Bureau and as a supervisor of the Towaliga Soil and Water Conservation District.
Rick Minter, one of the co-founders of Inman Farm Heritage Days, said Travis Hardy reminds him of the Jimmy Stewart character in the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life.”
“Like the fictional George Bailey, Travis Hardy had the qualifications and the ability to go off to the big city and do great things, but he chose to hoe the rows close to home,” Minter said. “And we’re all better off because of that.”
His brother Al has had other careers as well, also never ventured far from the fields of his youth.
“The thing to do when I was young was to get out of high school and get away from the farm,” he said. “Then by the time you get away from the farm you want to come back.”
After a short time working in Atlanta, he came home in 1963 to manage Mask and Gay Food Products, a once-famous manufacturer of Brunswick stew.
“I built a house on the farm, and I’ve been here since,” he said.
Al sold Mask and Gay in 1980 then spent 21 years managing Georgia Industries for the Blind.
Now he spends his time restoring the trucks and tractors of his youth. And there’s plenty on his plate, as his brother pointed out.
“We never get rid of anything,” Travis Hardy said.
For Minter and others involved with Inman Farm Heritage Days, it’s people like the Hardys, who kept their old equipment, that make the show special.
“As Fayette County has changed, many familiar sights have disappeared, so it’s nice to get a chance to see and hear a tractor that has ties to another era,” Minter said.
Like shows of the past, Inman Farm Heritage Days is continuing its free admission policy, one made possible because of a group of hard-working volunteers and by sales of souvenir T-shirts and programs and by donations.
Minter said the fact that the show has remained a community event rather than a business venture is something to be celebrated.
“Back in the day, neighbors helped neighbors get the jobs done,” he said. “It feels good to see that those old-time values and traditions continue today.”
In addition to the tractors and equipment on display, Inman Farm Heritage Days features broom-making, weaving, threshing, syrup-making, a blacksmith shop, cider press, sawmill and a 100-year-old printing press, a moonshine still, pedal tractors for kids, food vendors and displays of other crafts.
“We try to have something for every member of the family,” Minter said.
For more information visit www.inmanfarm.com or call 770-461-2840.