SNOW HILL – On the first Saturday in August for the past 18 years, Snow Hill’s downtown has been the site of a beloved agricultural festival, the Blessing of the Combines.
This year’s blessing is set to take place Aug. 6 on Green Street in Snow Hill from 11 a.m. until 3 p.m. but vendors open as early as 9 a.m. Visitors are encouraged to arrive early to claim parking.
The Parade of Combines is slated to begin at 11:15. Then, a “throttle thrust” in which all the combine operators rev their engines to the maximum before cutting them off simultaneously marks the beginning of the festival.
Steve Hales, former Clerk of Circuit Court for Worcester County and Snow Hill native, will return this year as Master of Ceremonies.
The Snow Hill High School Junior Marine Corps ROTC will present the colors to begin the program.
This year’s keynote speaker is Charlie Hoober, retired president and second generation owner of Hoober, Inc., a farm equipment supplier with locations covering the Delmarva Peninsula.
The actual blessing will be performed by Rev. Andrew Frick of Whatcoat United Methodist Church in Snow Hill.
Families from as far as Ohio and Pennsylvania visit the Worcester County seat to see these mammoth machines squeeze down Snow Hill’s historic streets.
“It’s a wonderful thing for people to come and see what the farmers do and see the size of the combines,” said event organizer Becky Payne.
Payne describes the Blessing as an, “old fashioned get-together” complete with live music, vendors and activities for children.
The agricultural festival will feature several different musical acts from the area, including the Davis Family and Nick Haglich, along with headliner the Michael Christopher Band.
Visitors strolling along Bank and Green streets will have the opportunity to shop at a variety of craft and food vendors.
However, the Blessing of the Combines does not need to be a shopping excursion. “Just about everything’s free to children, so families can come and have a great time without spending money,” Payne said.
Free activities include a Petting Barnyard, a horse-drawn hay ride, and, of course, the combines themselves.
“This is a way for the children to climb up on the combine and get their picture taken,” said Payne.
At its roots, the Blessing of the Combines is an opportunity for the community to wish farmers a safe harvest and commemorate past farmers and their families, according to Payne.