The Franklin-Simpson Farmers Market is preparing for its annual Hometown Harvest Dinner at 7 p.m. on July 19 in the West Cedar Street alley.

The pre-dinner festival starts at 6 p.m. in the parking lot behind the Brickyard Café where market vendors provide appetizers and hors d'oeuvres for tasting. Kim Roberts, president of the Franklin-Simpson Farmers Market, said Little Bent Farms organizes that part of the event.

"They have everything from cowboy caviar to different salsas and dips," Roberts said.

Tommy Johnson will provide live music during the pre-dinner festival, she said. The festival is a time for people to socialize and prepare for the dinner portion of the event.

Roberts said the only way to get to the dinner is through the pre-dinner festival. The decorations will not even be visible until people head in to eat dinner, she said.

Roberts said Robbie Cothern, vice-president of the Franklin-Simpson Farmers Market, is taking care of all of the decorations.

"I am just kind of letting her roll with it," she said. "She has given me an idea of what she wanted to do. I feel like it is going to be rustic elegance."

The Brickyard Café is cooking the food for the dinner, Roberts said, using products purchased from farmers market vendors. The vendors will be providing a majority of the food for the dinner, but there are some items the café will need to supplement to make the dishes, she said.

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When purchasing tickets, people will have a choice of a salad, chicken or steak, two vegetable side dishes, bread, dessert and their choice of tea or water.

"We have done cobbler in the past with ice cream, but since we are going to be outside we thought we would steer clear of the ice cream, so they are doing a different dessert this year," Roberts said.

The Brickyard is making a cake they are calling a berrylicious cake, she said.

The chicken for the meal is always provided by Perdue and the steak comes from locally-sourced businesses around Kentucky.

"We try to keep it as close as we can," Roberts said.

To serve, the market has about 30 volunteers from around the community. Roberts said there are jailors, farmers, business owners, agribusiness owners and friends volunteering to serve guests at the dinner.

"We are inexperienced servers so it takes more to try to get people served faster," she said. "It is going to be a little bit of a challenge being in the alley this year."

Toward the end of the night, they will start giving out door prizes. Roberts said they usually have some really good prizes.

Roberts said Steve Thurmond will be the emcee for the event. She said she cannot see doing a Harvest Dinner without him.

"He makes it all fun," she said.

All of the proceeds from the dinner will go to the farmers market, Roberts said.

"A lot of people ask me what does the farmers market need the money for. Well, the pavilion is kind of our [responsibility]," Roberts said. "We have to take care of that pavilion, we have to pay the utility bill 12 months out of the year, and we have to do maintenance on the pavilion."

Roberts said they also use the money to help put on promotional and marketing events throughout the year like the Wine, Dine and Shine event earlier this year. The farmers market also gives money to community programs.

"We always put some money aside to give back to the community," Roberts said.

In case of rain, the Hometown Harvest Dinner will be moved to the Methodist Church CLC Center. She said she will probably make the call on having it outside or moving it into the CLC Center around 3 or 4 p.m. that day.

The main sponsors of the Hometown Harvest Dinner are Premier Service and Repair, Perdue, Ohio Valley Insurance, Elite Ag Services, Hudson Grain Company, Hunt Ford and Nutrien Ag Solutions.

Tickets cost $45 a person and can be purchased from Kim Roberts at 270-776-1641 or the Simpson County Extension Office at 270-586-1484. Roberts said if any tickets are left over they will be available for purchase at the door.

For updates on the Hometown Harvest Dinner follow them on Facebook at Franklin-Simpson Farmers Market.

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