It's time for Thomson city slickers to put on their boots for the third annual Round-Up for Manna at the Pine Top Farm. Advertised as "new and improved," this year's event has been reorganized to accommodate the hundreds who attend while providing more bang for the buck.
The event will begin one hour earlier than those in the past, so that the youngest buckaroos can enjoy all the fun before their bedtime, according to organizer Glenn Wilson. Parking and wagon loading will take place at the farm's red barn complex rather than the party barn.
The opening ceremony will take place out in the field with a rodeo-style national anthem. The truck-pulled wagons will then go on a cattle round-up.
"It's good, clean fun for all ages," Mr. Wilson said. "We're going to socialize with the cows and feed them cow cookies."
The wagon train is scheduled to stop at the party barn at 6 p.m. for dinner. And Mr. Wilson said the menu is also new, better and faster this year - Boston Butt BBQ, roasted ear of corn, baked beans, coleslaw and dessert. Hamburgers and hotdogs still will be available for children.
"The barbecue will be cooked on site all day long by the church members, and then be set out in bowls to serve," Mr. Wilson said. "That will simplify the serving rush. ... Plus it'll be really good."
Live entertainment "by good local talent" will fill the party barn after supper.
"Then about sundown, we have another new, really good wrinkle," Mr. Wilson said.
Everyone will return to the wagons for the ride back to their parking area - with a detour.
"We are going through the haunted holler," Mr. Wilson said. "A haunted ride through the woods with surprises along the way. It's going to be fun."
The haunted holler is provided by the youth group of Thomson First United Methodist Church, and the event is sponsored by the church's Exodus Sunday School class. Luckey Printing provided advertising posters and Thomson Chemical and Janitorial Supply donated paper products for the meal.
The annual event is a fundraiser for Manna of Thomson, a faith-based, non-profit organization that provides temporary and emergency aid to people in need who are living in McDuffie County and surrounding areas.
Last year, Mr. Wilson said the round-up raised $5,000 for Manna, and he hopes to raise $6,000 this year. But helping others is not the only reason Mr. Wilson organized the event.
"One reason I like to do it is it's a way to share a little bit of farm life with people who otherwise don't get to enjoy it like I do every day," he said.
Pine Top Farm is located two miles east of Thomson on US Hwy. 78/278. The round up is from 4-8 p.m., Saturday, Oct. 6. The gates will open at 3 p.m.
Ticket prices in advance are $10 for adults and $5 for children, which is a minimum suggested donation and includes the meal. Admission at the gate the day of the event is $12 for adults and $6 for children. Advanced tickets are available at Manna, Thomson First United Methodist Church, Luckey Printing, Thomson Chemical and Janitorial Supply and McDuffie Feed and Seed.