By Becky Newbold
Playing off strengths, Giles County’s newest attraction answers the decades old question with a substantial festival slated for September. “Here’s The Beef!” was the design of several in the community and the idea of Chamber Executive Director, Jessie Parker.
“Jessie has a strong heritage of tourism development in Giles County,” Melinda Hughey of RH Factor, a travel group coordinator, said. “It was a no-brainer to help Jessie,” she added.
One look at the rolling countryside will confirm agriculture is the largest revenue source for Giles County.
“Some farmers are considering direct to consumer sales,” mentioned Nancy Dunavant. Nancy and her husband, Bill, typically have about 80 Black Angus on their 7th generation farm.
“More producers are thinking about the farm to table movement; knowing where your food comes from is important,” she added. “When you have that many people engaged, [this festival] makes sense.”
Giles County Farm Bureau’s Debbie Briggs heads the Ag in the Classroom project, which brings 4th graders to a farm setting for a day. “We are blessed to have been doing this for 20 years.” About 400 students will participate in milking a cow and learn more about food production, including beef, pork, chicken and honey.
“There is a great divide between people in a community: those raised in agriculture and those raised with Wal-Mart,” Debbie continued. “I’m tickled with the beef festival…to spread the knowledge and pat farmers on the back.”
“Here’s The Beef!” will be a merger of long-standing events in Giles County, Jessie Parker explained. Just late last year, the Giles County Tourism Association and the Chamber of Commerce merged into one stronger entity, bringing the powerhouse Joyce Woodard and Jessie to the same table.
“Our population spans the gamut: retirees, a bustling industry and students of the four year liberal arts college (Martin Methodist),” Jessie remarked. With a blend of demographics to entertain, the festival begins on Thursday with the Steer It Home Giles County Golf Scramble.
On Friday, the Taste the Beef Chili & Stew Challenge, in its 24th year, will be held on the square, with live musical entertainment by Bad Brew.
A Steak and Egg Breakfast, farmers market, arts and crafts and free beef samples start the fun on Saturday. Later in the day, line up for the Best Local Burger Contest, followed by Tennessee’s Largest Tailgate at “The Hut” parking lot.
Also during the day, a corn hole tournament will be held.
Saturday evening, headliner Jacob Powell will perform with opening act, the Derrick Newton Band.
Giles County has long been known as the land of milk and honey, due to the high number of dairies and beekeepers in the area. As smaller dairies succumbed to big business, local farmers adapted and begin raising beef.
“That is a testament to the progressive nature of the people of Giles, to move into the success of something else,” Jessie explained.
“At the end of the day, ag is where we came from and it is where we are going.”
Becky Jane Newbold thrives on new experiences and is always on the lookout for new stories to tell. Whether she is riding her motorcycle, photographing wildlife attracted to her garden, creating original works of art or enjoying home-cooked meals with her family, Becky Jane’s passion is staying current with fresh, innovative ideas. Raised in the newspaper industry, she is committed to truth in media.