Soybean Festival kickoff

MARTIN, Tenn.— If you had gone to the Martin farmers market Saturday morning you might have thought you were at an international festival, but it was actually the kick off for the Soybean Festival.

“We’re checking out the farmer’s market this morning,” Tod Winters, a Martin resident, said.  “It’s kind of a special event today, as you can see, we have some music by Jamaican Me Happy. And we have some extra special vendors today,”

Those special vendors included those with fresh fruits and vegetables, jams and even fresh sea food.  Others were excited for the more traditional fair experience.

“My little boy definitely loves all the rides and the food that they have downtown, and his school takes a field trip to the soybean festival so he’s looking forward to that,” Leigh Lester, a long time Weakley County resident, said.

Just down the road at UT Martin, there was a different kind of festival experience going on.

“It’s a Minecraft competition,” Grayson Gilliam, a participant in the competition, said.  “It’s about agriculture and making decisions about your life, like how to make money, should you go to college or should you start farming and then go to college so you’ll have a profit already.”

That’s right… a video game competition.  Organizers realized that the outdoors isn’t for everyone, so they had this part of the fair for those who like the indoors a little more.  Andd the kids are learning as they play too!

“The quiz you had to do for the final exam, I learned that like most of the pork that comes to america is only 10% of the pork in the world. And the discipline in agriculture and biology,” Gilliam said.

But there was one thing that several people agreed on as their favorite part of the festival.

“And the people that they get here for the concerts, I mean, they’re popular people, so it’s exciting to have them. I live right down the road so I can walk here to the concert. It’s really nice,” Lester said.

“The Soybean Festival is chock full of activities for kids and family members and farmers and artisans,” Samantha Goyret, the Food Network Coordniator, said.  “There’s a makers fair and there’s really fun activities for everybody. And the music especially.”

“Probably the music they get. It’s incredible how they can get some big bands into it,” Gilliam said.

And throughout the week, there will be several live performances with the last night wrapping up with Lynrd Skynyrd.