Growing Rural Opportunities to host second annual GRO FEST on May 12

Published 8:00 am Friday, May 4, 2018

On Saturday, May 12, historic Harmon Dairy — a 70-year old family farm located in Columbus — will come alive with more than just cows in the field.

Growing Rural Opportunities, a local nonprofit organization dedicated to supporting farmers and promoting local food, will host its second annual fundraiser, GRO FEST, from 4 to 10 p.m.

Harmon Dairy, the new home of Looking Glass Creamery, is perched at the top of an active cow pasture with 280-degree views of the Blue Ridge mountains.

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“The festival is not in the easiest place to throw an event, but we chose to host the celebration at Harmon Dairy because, after 70 years as a family farm, it is transitioning to new owners who will keep the farm alive for decades to come,” said Patrick McLendon, executive director of GRO. “This is a big and monumental moment for our local agriculture and we want to celebrate this achievement that has been years in the making.”

Guest will enjoy an evening of bluegrass, Americana and rock music from bands including the evenings headliner, Town Mountain Band, the Aaron Burdett Band, Yellow Feather and White Coyote.

The festival, presented by Bryan Easler Toyota, will offer local dishes from Mountain View Barbeque, Manna Cabana, Mama’s Little Dough Boy and Bullhded Peanut Co., which will feature local produce, pastured meat and vegetarian options. Guest can while away the night as they sit by the bonfire with friends, sipping locally-crafted libations from one of nine regional breweries and four local Polk wineries.

General admission tickets are $30 in advance, $35 the day of the show and $60 for VIP. Tickets can be purchased online or in person at one of the local retailers listed on the website.

Attendees should bring chairs, blankets, jackets and flashlights. Kids are welcome, and those under the age of 12 do not need a ticket.

For all of the details, visit

– Submitted by Erika McMillan