By Debbie Robinson
NEOSHO, Mo. — Thousands from the Four-State Area flocked Saturday to Steve Roark’s Circle R Ranch to ride horses, buy crafts and pet sheep during the 11th annual Barnyard Days.
The event continues today from 8:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. Breakfast will be served at 8:30 a.m.
More than 20,000 people were expected to attend the three-day, privately operated event at the Roarks’ working cattle ranch, Roark said.
This year 110 arts and crafts vendors are displaying everything from holiday decorations, wildlife paintings and jewelry to quilts and decorative planters made out of tires.
Children’s activities included a petting zoo, horseback rides, archery, face painting, corn shelling and a hay maze.
Children’s games at 50 cents each will begin at noon today, Roark said.
The Cherokee Bowhunters Archery Club participated for the first time with demonstrations.
Four-year-old Gunner Putman of rural Neosho hit three balloons on a target with an arrow during his first try as an archer.
“I was aiming it down,” he said as family members and friends congratulated the youngster.
The smell of kettle corn filled the air as visitors toured booths or sat on straw bales listening to country music.
Today’s musical performances will feature gospel selections.
Under partly cloudy skies in an expansive green valley unchanged since the 1950s, children operated a hand-driven corn sheller and watched a 50-year-old working washing machine at an exhibit of antique tractors and farm equipment provided by the Wolf Branch Vintage Tractor Club.
Corn shelled by the children will be used for livestock feed, said Ramona Lehar, of Granby.
“We’ve come to keep the past alive,” Lehar said. “Hopefully, we’re getting some children interested in this.”
Organizations such as the Neosho Future Farmers of America, a mission team representing five churches, Joplin Future Farmers of America and Diamond 4-H Club were holding raffles and offering children’s activities to raise money.
By Debbie Robinson
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