MANATEE Those interested in agriculture and the environment can certainly enjoy themselves at the Manatee County Fairgrounds on Saturday.
The third annual Florida Friendly Family Festival, a environmentally-conscious event hosted by the Manatee County Agriculture and Extension Service Department, is set for 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
At the Florida-Friendly festival, water conservation and energy efficiency will be the overlying theme. Attendees are asked to bring in their old shower heads to exchange for a low-flow shower heads at no charge. Beautiful Ponds nursery will give away free aquatic plans while Mariposa Nursery will give away free landscape plants. All plants on sale at the festival are drought-tolerant. The festival will showcase 30 exhibitors and there will also be a trash to treasure sale to support recycling. The festival is free to the public.
Manatee County is a green government now and thats a message we want to put out there, said Michelle Atkinson, Florida Friendly Landscaping Coordinator for the Agriculture and Extension Service Department.
Entertainment will be pro
vided by a local Dixieland jazz band.
At 10 a.m. Saturday, the Manatee County Cattlemens Association, in partnership with the Braden River High School Future Farmers of America (FFA) alumni program, will host Smoke On The River, featuring a barbecue cooking contest, a lawn tractor pulling and diesel truck pulling contest, antique car show and a ranch rodeo.
For the past three years, the Cattlemens Association has hosted a rodeo at the fairgrounds, but this year decided to partner with the high schools alumni program to help raise funds for the FFA program.
Proceeds from the event will be used for scholarships and sponsoring FFA trips for students, which can include livestock shows, career development events and leadership conferences. Profits will be split between the program and Cattlemens Association.
We have some of finest agricultural kids across the state, said Jason McKendree, vice president of the Manatee County Cattlemens Association and cattle manager for Schroeder-Manatee Ranch farms. To work with them is a privilege.
The lawn mower and diesel truck races begin at 10 a.m., followed by the antique car show. The rodeo begins at 3 p.m. The winning team at the rodeo will secure a spot in the Florida Cattlemens Ranch Rodeo finals in Kissimmee on Sept. 28 and 29. Admission to the event is $5.
Nick Williams, East Manatee reporter, can be reached at 941-748-0411 ext. 7049. Tweet: @_1NickWilliams