This Christmas season, there were a lot of new faces at the Nutcracker Village in Steubenville, Ohio. One of those faces was ‘Farmer,’ the nutcracker sponsored by the Jefferson County Farm Bureau. Sponsorship of this nutcracker was a plan championed by former board president, Duayne Wetherell. The food and agriculture industry is the largest industry in the state, and contributes $105 billion annually to Ohio’s economy (Farm Flavor). Due to this, Duayne felt it was important to represent the industry and farmers by representing them at the village, right along with all of the other professions that are vital to our community.
During the holiday nutcracker display, Farm Bureau, via its Facebook page, invited people to take a picture with the nutcracker and suggest a name for him. Several names were suggested, but the community quickly coalesced behind ‘Farmer Fred’ in honor of Fred Silvestri of the Silvestri Farm in Rayland, Ohio. Fred passed away in August 2017. Even Fred’s wife, Mae, came down to the village and had a picture taken with the then nameless Farmer. Many people posted to share fond memories of Fred Silvestri and his pumpkin farm. Fred was a long-time farm bureau member, and was a past member of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau Board of Directors.
At the Feb. 1, 2018 meeting of the Jefferson County Farm Bureau, the board of directors voted unanimously to name the nutcracker “Farmer Fred” in honor of Fred Silvestri.
If you’d like to meet the ‘Farmer Fred’ nutcracker in person, he stands guard in the county office on Bantam Ridge Road in Wintersville for the rest of the year — except for Fair week, when he can be found visiting the Farm Bureau booth in the Commercial Building, and Sept. 9 he will visit Aladdin Land for the bureau’s Annual Dinner Meeting.