Cowboys and cowgirls on horseback were the first to greet visitors at the Oldtime Farming Festival in Centerburg last weekend, as they directed parking at the 17th annual event.

Cowboys and cowgirls on horseback were the first to greet visitors at the Oldtime Farming Festival in Centerburg last weekend, as they directed parking at the 17th annual event.

Attendees passed a wagon of pumpkins, mums, gourds and a pen of ponies before entering Community Memorial Park, abuzz with activities Sept. 20-21.

Ron "Cub" Wolfinger was in a familiar place, helping to man an old cider press. An elevator slowly carried apples from a wagon, dumping them into a motorized press where they were ground, then pumped into gallon jugs for sale.

"You have to use mixed apples, otherwise the cider would be too sour or sweet," Wolfinger said. "We go through about 170 bushels in two days."

Meandering through the vendor area, visitors saw half-bushel mums bursting in fall colors, surrounded by pumpkins, gourds and Indian corn.

The fall decorations were being sold by Sunbury's Bountiful Growers.

Vendor Jeff French, of the Johnstown area, kept his forge operating to heat up metal for his line of outdoor cooking gear.

"I specialize in making outdoor cooking equipment," he said. "I'm working on a grate for a large cooker."

French makes tripods and quads to hang pots for cooking over hot coals.

In the display area, members of the Land of Legend Antique Tractor Club, of Newark, sold raffle tickets and gazed at the 220 farm tractors.

"Our members brought about 30 tractors," said Jim Harvey, vice president. "We come here every year. We like the people."

The club boasts about 225 members, with about 25 representing the Johnstown area, Harvey said.

"We're at the Hartford Fair where we buy livestock," he said. "We send donations to 4-H kids for camp."

Jane Buxton, a festival committee member and co-chair of the horticulture show, said last weekend's festival was a great success, with the parking lot filled to capacity each day.

In the horticulture show, described as "open to the world," several Licking County participants won ribbons.

In the junior division, Johnstown's Anna Brittenham entered the largest marigold head. It was five inches across.

"She won a first and second because she had two marigold entries," Buxton said. "She also entered a zinnia head that won a third place ribbon."

In the junior division, four records were broken after 13 years of keeping track, according to Buxton.

Melissa Layton of Centerburg entered the longest bean -- 20.5 inches; Johny Russell of Mount Vernon entered the longest ear of corn at 11.75 inches; Macenzie Laipply of Centerburg had the heaviest tomato at 2.5 pounds; and Logan Patterson, also of Centerburg, entered the heaviest Irish potato, 2.23 pounds.

In the adult division, Harvey A. Griffin of Pataskala entered the heaviest fall squash at 22.58 pounds. Perry Clayton of Granville had the heaviest gourd, 18.64 pounds, and the longest ear of corn (any color), 12.25 inches.

Buxton said Homer's Gary Taylor still holds the record for the longest gourd - 71.5 inches long -- and Utica's Bill Krego retains the record for the tallest thistle at 14 foot, six inches.

"We had a total of 174 participants," Buxton said. "That was just seven fewer than last year, but last year was record-breaking for the most participants."

In all, the horticulture show featured 418 entries in the junior and adult divisions.

"That's really good," Buxton said.