NCK Farm & Home Expo kicks off spring in Belleville, Kan.
March 24, 2017
Kicking off the spring season, the annual NCK (north central Kansas) Farm & Home Expo hosted by the Belleville, Kan., Chamber and Main Street's agriculture committee, was a popular event in the central plains March 17 and 18. Homegrown popcorn, free specially created colorful ropes, free take-home bushes and a full concession booth with sandwiches, homemade pecan and peanut butter cookies, cinnamon rolls, kolaches and brownies were in high demand.
Nine-year-old Caitlynn LaMore of Belleville was excited when ropemaker Lyndon Ochsner of Sutton, Neb., handed her a colorful, completed rope from her three combined choice colors of pink, lavender and yellow. "I wanted it for fun," Caitlynn said.
Three senior citizens who drove 30 miles to the Farm and Home Expo, happily loaded their free small bushes into the car to head home, after the enjoyable afternoon at the show. "We like seeing the new stuff, we like getting these free trees," Rosanne Newell of Byron, Neb., said. "We've been coming to this show for years," said Newell, who traveled with her friends Frances Ritterling, also of Byron, and Henrietta Grauerholz who lives in Kansas just south of the Hardy, Neb., border. "There's always something new to look at. It's a great little outing, it's a nice day and it's something different," said Grauerholz, as the three friends enjoyed the unseasonable mid-March warmth before heading back to Nebraska.
Members of the Touchstone Club baked homemade treats, made sandwiches and staffed the full concession booth. "The funds we raise from the concessions support local scholarships and community projects," said Linda Elliott, President of Touchstone, a service organization in Republic County for over 25 years.
A new gardening tool was showcased at the expo; called 'The Travis.' It's a hand-weed tool made out of disc blades, so it's hard and made of steel. "This is a special tool that we make for walking trails and firemen, so you can cut down a bank with one side and dig rocks with the other," Loren Kisby of Munden, Kan., said.
The latest lawn mowers were at the John Deere booth from CTI; in Concordia, Kan. Also represented at the event, a roof repair company, Geisler, and others.
Free small bushes were given away by the Kansas State Research and Extension District, and visitors enjoyed stopping to see and purchase colorful pansies and other plants from Polansky Seed.
"Coinciding with the emergence of spring, the NCK Farm and Home Expo is always one of the favorite events in our community and the region, as it offers a myriad of products and services to suit so many interests. Just to name a few, patrons especially enjoy checking out the latest home improvement ideas, garden implements and tractors, and latest health products.
Many were intrigued by fresh, locally grown popcorn at a booth with numerous popcorn products. "We sell corn kernels from the current harvest year. Those who are really big popcorn eaters can really tell the difference of this fresh popcorn. Also, people like to see where their popcorn comes from and how it grows on an ear," said Stacey Freitag, who co-owns Free Day Popcorn Company with her husband, Nate, in Belleville. They provide their fresh popcorn to The Blair Theater in Belleville, and other locations. "We enjoy educating people too, and it's been a fun process," Freitag said. Popcorn is a special variety of corn.
New this year in fence options is the Spider Board fence boards with a narrower profile, meaning less peek-a-boo space in between the fence boards. "We've built 2,000 fences in this area and for 25 years, it's been the same owner and son operation, said Tom Steffens, sales manager with Country Estate Fence Deck & Railing based in Cawker City, Kan. With an increasing number of people relaying difficulty sleeping, or breathing while sleeping and waking un-refreshed, there was a booth with health information about the benefits of using a CPAP (Continuous Positive Airway Pressure) which include assisting with getting a restful night's sleep. Registered Respiratory Therapist Deanna Morris, owner of Central Plains Respiratory and Medical LLC., in Belleville and her staff relayed how quiet the new CPAP is, and explained that sleep apnea affects people of all ages; male and female. The Chamber plans to offer a more extensive health fair at a later date. Meanwhile, nurses were also at the Farm and Home Exp to provide infant and child car seat safety checks, offer blood pressure checks and wellness screenings. ❖
— Hadachek is a freelance writer who lives on a farm with her husband in north central Kansas, and is a meteorologist and storm chaser. She can be reached at: firstname.lastname@example.org.