Way back at the dawn of prehistory, in 1923, a group of Kimball businessmen came up with the idea of honoring the farmers of the county.
They knew that production agriculture was the economic engine driving Kimball's economy, and that their own livelihoods depended on farming and ranching.
In those days well over 96 cents of every dollar circulating in Kimball came from farming and ranching. The cash that farmers and ranchers earned for their crops was the capital that the town folk relied on to grow, prosper, raise families, and look to the future.
And so the invitations went out to all the farmers and ranchers in the county. They and their families were invited to Kimball to be wined, dined, entertained and honored.
Well, they weren't actually wined. Prohibition was the law in Nebraska, and Kimball County was dry.
Nevertheless, the farmers and ranchers came. They streamed into town on a late-autumn afternoon, some conveyed by automobiles but many more by animal power. When they arrived they were directed to more than a dozen hotels and boarding houses where they were feted, fed and entertained. By all accounts the "Farmers' Day" was a great success and before the last agriculturalist headed for home plans were coming together for a bigger, better celebration in 1924.
With the exception of three years during the war, Farmers' Day has been an annual event in Kimball. Held on the last weekend in September, Farmers' Day still aims to honor local farmers and ranchers. A lot has changed since 1923. Back then, more than half of the counties residents were farmers and/or ranchers. Today it's less than five percent (which is about 4.5 times higher than the national average). Agriculture is still the driving economic force in the county, though federal and state government run a close second these days. Still, the jingle in the pockets of town folk mostly starts at the farm and ranch, and the Farmers' Day Committee aims to keep that reality at the forefront of the celebration.
These days Farmers' Day activities are centered around the Saturday morning parade which wraps up with a free hamburger feed. Other events include bands, dancing, car shows, craft fairs, cooking contests and demonstrations, lawnmower races, Ugly baby and pretty pickup contests, and a big RC airshow on Sunday (weather permitting, of course).
Farmers' Day is real, live, small town Americana, which, contrary to the national propaganda narrative, is alive and well.
It also marks production agriculture, which is worth thinking about, because whether you like it or not, as long as we must eat to survive, we are all of us, every single one, farmers and ranchers.
And now, without further ado, the slide show.
|Fire brigade leads the way|
|I really like this image for some reason.|
|Followed by the High School Marching Band|
|This drum major was so serious, not sure how I managed to catch a smile!|
|I love their effort but they march like airwingers. Which is a good thing!|
|The clown's dog was trained to attack grownups reaching for candy.|
|Kimball's Fire Department MC club.|
|Small, rural agricultural towns are fading as their elderly populations die off...|
|Ain't much of a small town without a DQ.|
|Farmers' Day Committee Chairman. The "elderly" population isn't always elderly.|
|The voice of Farmers' Day.|
|It stood for Future Farmers of America. Back in the stone age.|
|Grilling burgers starts well before the parade.|
|These fellows have it down to a science.|
|Bush's Best, from Tennessee to Kimball.|
|Before the feast.|
|I asked these kids how they were gonna get candy from in there. The little girl was worried but the grinning little boy knew the secret. "We already HAVE candy!"|
|Before it was Ken's, Big Al's, or Vince's, it was Mikes's Sinclair. And gas was 34 cents a gallon.|
|Ruh-roh, Shore Patrol!|
|Car 54 where are you?|
|After the last float passes...|
|Speaking of "passes"...|
|A '53 JD 40. For farmin' and drivin' to church.|
|From the local Nursing home.|
|Candy tossing is all in the wrist.|
|From the local grain elevator and farm cooperative.|
|Serious about her candy delivery.|
My favorite, the Junior High Marching Band!