Henry County Harvest Showcase

Singer Berry to highlight annual show
in New Castle

Annual show highlights area's agricultural heritage

NEW CASTLE, Ky. (July 2015) – Johnny Berry knows how to tell a good tale through music. Although some of his songs might boarder on tavern tall tales, his focus is on getting the crowd moving and really absorbing what he’s singing about.
Johnny Berry has spent most of his life entertaining people through music. He began his career at the Opryland Park before becoming a sideman to legendary performers such as Doyle Lawson and Charlie Sizemore. Playing bluegrass earned him the 1999 Society for the Preservation of Bluegrass Music of America Entertainer of the Year award. He now performs around the Louisville area with his band, The Outliers.

Photo provided

Johnny Berry is a well-known performer in the area

The Outliers formed in 2002, and since then the band has become a seven-time “Best Country-Western Band” winner of the Louisville Eccentric Observer’s Best of Louisville list. They are comprised of Grammy nominee Steve Cooley on guitar, Ricky Puckett on bass and Lonney Tate on drums.
Cooley has played with such stars as Jerry Reed, the Dillards and Wilma Lee Cooper. He has performed at the Grand Ole Opry numerous times. Puckett is a long time member of the Lincoln Jamboree. Tate’s list of accolades includes playing with Tom T. Hall, John Conlee and Vern Gosdin.
Berry plays a wide venue of songs. In 2012, his song, “The End,” was featured in an episode of FX’s TV series “Sons of Anarchy.”
Johnny Berry & the Outliers will be one of the featured performers for this year’s 16th annual Henry County Harvest Showcase, from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, July 25, at the Henry County Fairgrounds, Hwy. 421 outside of New Castle. This free event will feature the best Henry County has to offer in terms of agriculture.
The focus of the event is the same as it has always been, “To help celebrate our local agricultural heritage with both the citizens of Henry County and also with our more urban neighbors,” said Maryellen Garrison, Henry County Agent for Family and Consumer Sciences. “We hope to provide our farmers with the opportunity to connect with the people who purchase their produce.”
Garrison said one of the things visitors enjoy most about the Showcase is the relaxed atmosphere. “There are no carnival rides, just good food, simple games for the kids, great music and lots of local color.  I think that people really enjoy sitting under the Big Tent and listening to the musical entertainment and with more groups coming this year there should be something for everyone.”
In addition to Johnny Berry & The Outliers, from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., the musical lineup includes Appalatin, Reid Moore and Jenny Roberts, the Henry County High School Band, John and Will Gage, and Ye Merrie Melodious Dulcimers.
The Showcase has always highlighted fresh produce and meat, arts and crafts, live music, children’s games, tractor show, animal demonstrations, ag-related businesses and Lunch at the Farmer’s Market. Raffle items will include themed baskets that represent Henry County such as, a 4-H basket, Farm Value Added basket, and a basket provided by The Berry Center.
“We estimate between 2,500-3,000 people attend each year,” said Garrison. Bonnie Cecil is this year’s committee chairman and has been involved with Harvest Showcase for a very long time.
In terms of the day’s schedule, some things may be “a little different this year,” said Cecil. Members of the planning committee have changed, and “We’re trying to get more young people on board.”
Cecil believes this will provide “a breath of fresh air” for the event. “We’re getting some new artists, crafters and non profits to participate. This tells me the local agricultural movement is alive and well in our community,” she said.
Cecil has gotten a lot of help from Katie Ellis, Managing Director for The Berry Center. The center is a foundation established in 2011 by Mary Berry, daughter of Wendell Berry. It was created for the purpose of continuing the Berry family’s work in culture and agriculture.
The Berry Center seeks to collect, archive and catalogue the speeches, letters and manuscripts of John M. Berry Sr., a farmer and lawyer in New Castle; John M. Berry Jr., also a farmer, lawyer and state senator; and noted Kentucky author Wendell Berry of nearby Port Royal. The center will make these materials available to researchers, said Ellis.
The Berry Center has been a past sponsor of Harvest Showcase. “We’re thrilled to be a part of it,” Ellis said. “It will be a fantastic day for folks to come out and support local farmers.”
In the works is a Barnyard Olympics for children. “It’s a way to have kids participate,” said Ellis. “It will be a nice addition.”
Even though there might be a few changes this year, “our focus is still on what is produced in Henry County,” said Cecil. Everything revolves around Henry County’s agricultural heritage and the people that continue this tradition.

• For more information, contact the Henry County Cooperative Extension Office at (502) 845-2811 or Katie Ellis at (502) 845-9200.

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