42st ANNUAL GOPHER HILL FESTIVAL
The Gopher Hill Festival Committee is pleased to announce that this years Gopher Hill Festival dates will be October 3-5, 2013. This year’s theme is Agriculture: A Home Grown Business, The Economic Driver. We recognize that agriculture in its various forms is a major driver behind the Jasper County Economy, from tree and crop farming to sod farms, the various forms of agriculture are as diverse as the people of Jasper County.
We will be updating our website and our Facebook page (Gopher Hill Festival) with information as it becomes available. The various updated forms, from sponsorships to vending will be updated and available on the website as well. We invite all to come and celebrate Jasper County’s agricultural business and heritage with us this October.
2013 GOPHER HILL GRAND MARSHAL
The Gopher Hill Festival parade's grand marshal rises each morning about 6:30 and walks a few feet from his 34-year-old Grays home to the waiting 365 acres on the 120-year-old property.
Micky Ginn's great-grandfather, Lawrence, bought the property sometime in the 1890s, and since then farming's been a family business. From Lawrence, to grandfather Lonnie, to dad Von Lehe, family-run farming has been a Ginn way of life.
Ginn, 60, has maintained the business since he returned from college and partnered with his father in 1980. After his father died in 2002, Ginn's been running the show, with help from two full-time employees, Mike and Don, and his wife Diane.
He's a rare breed: a full-time Jasper County farmer. It's likely he's the only such farmer remaining in the county.
"It's a rewarding way of life to see: seed planted, crops grow, and do your best to make a bountiful crop," Ginn said. "Whatever you can produce and whenever you make an excellent crop, it makes you feel good."
Corn, cotton, soy beans and peanuts is Ginn's business and for his longtime efforts he'll be honored Oct. 5 as the Gopher Hill parade's grand marshal. The committee is honoring the county's farmers, which is a pleasant surprise to Ginn.
"Not many farmers get recognition," he said. "I was really happy they were honoring the farmers because that's been the backbone of this country for years."
The festival begins the evening of Oct. 3 with tub races and other events. The street dance is the next night and the parade highlights an afternoon of Oct. 5 events.
Ginn has land in Jasper and Hampton counties, about 1,100 acres overall, and last week he talked about his time at the Grays property, where he lives. Farming was instilled in him when he was young, helping his father and grandfather.
For his grandfather, farming was a way of survival after the Depression. He had hogs, cows and vegetables and only went to the store to buy flour, rice and grits.
Ginn's father worked with his grandfather from 1956-75 and Ginn, who went to Orangeburg Tech, built a house on the property in 1979 and partnered with his dad in 1980.
The sun, the crops, the trees, the air. Being outdoors is what Ginn loves. He's experienced working indoors. He's not going back.
In 1990 Ginn bought a convenience store and for five years worked at the farm and store, opening the store at 5 a.m., working at the farm until 7 p.m., and going to the store until closing time at 10 p.m. It didn't take long for him to realize he didn't want to be "married" to the store.
"It feels like the walls close in on you," he said. "I enjoy being outside, seeing the crops grow."
Ginn, who recently spent 19 consecutive days harvesting corn, will next harvest peanuts.
The estimated 90 inches of rain this summer reduced his corn output by about a third, but he makes good business selling bushels of corn to eight county plantations. His peanuts go to North Carolina.
It's not all business at the farm. Broccoli, turnips, collard greens, cabbage and radishes are grown for family meals. Ginn also enjoys buying from the local farmers, some who sell at the market in downtown Ridgeland.
"I try and support them," he said.
As long as he's alive, Ginn said, the land will always be in the family. He has three daughters and five grandchildren. A 15-year-old granddaughter is already driving one of the property's 16 John Deer tractors. She plans on keeping the farming business in the family, said Ginn, who is in his fifth year as the county Soil and Water Conservation commissioner.
The Gopher Hill Festival grand marshal usually ends his day around 9 p.m. The days are long, but Ginn feels a sense of accomplishment knowing he's growing fresh, safe food.
"It's good to know you've done a good job when you go in at night," Ginn said.
2013 Gopher Hill Car Show
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
MAIN STREET STAGE
HIFI STATION WILL BE PLAYING ON
FRIDAY OCTOBER 4TH AT 8:00 PM
GRAHAM'S TURNOUT WILL BE PERFORMING
ON SATURDAY OCTOBER 5 AT
1:30; 3:00 & 6:00
OCTOBER 5TH AT 7:00 P.M.
***WILL BE OPENING FOR JASON COURTENAY***
Artillery 3 will also be performing at 2:30
WILL BE PLAYING ON
SATURDAY OCTOBER 5TH AT 8:00 PM
ON DISPLAY THIS YEAR
THE REPLICA OF THE H.L. HUNLEY
BROUGHT TO US
JASPER COUNTY CHAPTER
SONS OF THE CONFEDERATE VETERANS
(COLONEL CHARLES JONES COLCOCK, CAMP 2100)
BACK BY POPULAR DEMAND
WILL BE PERFORMING ON THE KIDS STAGE (GAZEBO
SHOWTIMES ARE 1:00 AND 2:30
2013 GOPHER HILL SPONSORS
Law Offices of Darrell Thomas Johnson, Jr. LLC
Peters, Murdaugh, Parker, Eltzroth and Detrick
FRIENDS OF GOPHER HILL
Councilman Chris DuBose
Kim Malphrus Realty
Mayor Joey Malphrus
Deb's T-Shirts and Mugs
SPONSORS OF THE 2013 GOPHER HILL GOLF TOURNAMENT
FRED'S TREE SERVICE
NIMMER TURF FARM
QUICK FLOOR COVERING
PINTAIL CREEK GOLF CLUB
COUNTRY CLUB OF HILTON HEAD
MILLS HEATING AND AIR
WEST END WALK INSURANCE
WEBSTERS AUTO CARE
R&M SMALL ENGINE SERVICE
STATE FARM INSURANCE
JASPER FEED AND SEED
SPONSORS OF THE 2013 GOPHER HILL PAGEANTS
Jasper County School District
Blossoms on Main
Anne's Silks & Greens
Jasper County Chamber of Commerce