State, local officials applaud new agri-tourism attraction

Mecklenburg County has a new tourist attractionm and the state is taking notice.

State and local officials were out in force in Buffalo Junction on Wednesday morning for the official ribbon cutting at the new Oak Grove’s Fun on the Farm.

The “family-friendly” venue features hay rides, a pumpkin patch and the first corn maze in the area. The 2016 corn maze design features “We support our troops” written out” and also includes a caricature of the famed Iwo Jima statue.

Helping owners Laura and Danny Pittard with the ribbon cutting was Virginia Tourism Corporation President and CEO Rita D. McClenny and Virginia Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore.

Haymore, born and raised in a rural area of Pittsylvania County, formerly served as Secretary of Agriculture and Forestry.

Haymore told the crowd that he was especially delighted to be on hand for the opening of a brand new agribusiness in Southside Virginia.

Hayward congratulated the Pittards on the project and said that attractions such as Oak Grove represent two of the most important elements in Virginia’s economy — agriculture and tourism.

As a child growing up on a farm, Haymore told the audience that he had always been surprised when his friends who had grown up in towns and cities wanted to come to his family’s farm to play. He had, he said, wanted to go visit them in the city.

As he grew up, he said he began to understand their attitudes. He said that projects like Oak Grove provide people with the opportunity to return to and experience the things that make rural living such an attractive lifestyle.

Pointing to Mecklenburg’s growing tourism industry, McClenny described how excited she was to see yet another attraction to bring visitors to Southside Virginia and provide more “things to do” for visitors and residents alike. The blend of tourism and agriculture, she said, could be a critical area for even more success for the area’s ongoing tourism efforts.

Mecklenburg Tourism Coordinator Jacob Bower agreed.

“Absolutely this will be good for tourism,” said Bower. “This piggybacks our agriculture sector onto tourism. Agri-tourism is a booming industry in Virginia, and it would behoove anybody with a farm to consider it.”

Bower added that people have become more interested in where their food comes from and that farm tours can answer those questions and, in the process, bring more visitors to the area.

“I think it’s going to be a huge asset for us,” he said. “It’s the only corn maze in the county, maybe in the area. I’ve known the Pittards for awhile. They’re great, friendly people, and I wish nothing but the best for them.”

The grand opening for Oak Grove’s Fun on the Farm will be Sept. 24, and it will be open from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m. on Saturdays and 1 p.m. to 6 p.m. on Sundays through Nov. 5.

The farm is located on Highway 58 two miles west of Clarksville.

For more information, call (434) 738-8657, visit the website oakgrovefarmsva.com or look Oak Grove’s Fun on the Farm up on Facebook.

Featured Photo: Laura Pittard and Secretary of Commerce and Trade Todd Haymore discuss the details of the new corn maze at Oak Grove’s Fun on the Farm.