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GCREC Field Day Memories

Gulf Coast REC, like all RECs throughout the state, showcase research and share information to local growers and industry representative during Field Days.  These events draw large crowds to the center and the programs involve educational sessions as well as tours of the growing/research fields.  Topics of focus include new varieties, cultural management updates, information on disease and pest research as well as various other topics such as food safety, employee relations, etc.  Vendors for ag-related products are often invited to have a booth and promote their company to the participants.

As we celebrate our 90th Anniversary at GCREC, we are remembering Field Days of the Past through an array of vintage photos from our archives.  This blogger loves anything vintage, especially historical photos.  When I came across these Field Day pictures from the 40’s and 50’s, I couldn’t wait to have an outlet to show them off.  I hope you’ll enjoy them as much as we have.

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Field Days would draw large crowds of area growers, industry leaders, civic groups, and local government officials.  Some Field Days were crop specific and others would highlight all aspects of research at a center.

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And, Because of the lack of available meeting space for large crowds, the faculty would give their presentations outdoors.  Hopefully most of the Field Days were in the early spring or late fall to avoid heat and mosquitos!  No PowerPoints or even slide shows here. No folding chairs either, just crates and/or make-shift wooden benches.   All back in the day when men wore hats for every occasion and very few women attended.

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Transportation to the field in large trucks.  Safety not so much a concern back then.  Large speakers on the lead truck allowed faculty to give instruction to the participants as well as details about the research in the field.

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Back indoors, faculty displayed their research on table top displays, almost like a school science fair with presentation boards and stenciled lettering.   Variety trials for floriculture were one of the most popular attractions at GCREC Field Days.   Some researchers would offer a few hands-on experiments for participants to try.
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And when the guests were gone, time to kick back with a cold beverage and cigarette – my how times have changed!