1000 x 90

The annual Honey Harvest Hoedown Returns on Saturday, Aug. 5

Nashville singer, songwriter and Academy of Western Artists Entertainer of the Year, Dan Roberts, will be featured at the upcoming fundraising event for De la Cruz Farms. Photo submitted. 

By Sherrie Norris

It’s not just another fundraiser, we’re told, because this year’s annual Honey Harvest Hoedown, on Saturday, Aug. 5 — supporting the great work at De la Cruz Farms in Deep Gap — will feature live entertainment by award winning Nashville recording artist, Dan Roberts, and well-known fiddle player/maker, Bob Kugot. 

For three fun-filled hours, 5 –  8 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 5, the High Country community has an opportunity to come together for a good cause, while enjoying music, food, fellowship, raffles and more, including pony rides and bounce house for the kids and a baking contest, (visit website for contest rules).

Since 2014, De la Cruz Farms (meaning “of the cross”) has been serving area children and families in a unique farm-like setting that provides hands-on experiences in a safe, family-friendly and faith-based atmosphere.

This year’s Honey Harvest Hoe Down, is a much needed shot in the arm for the ministry and mission of De la Cruz, said Bencita Brooks, ministry co-founder who, along with her husband, Jeff, owns and operates the nonprofit organization.

Like many organizations, de la Cruz was affected by the Covid pandemic, but is back in operation and could use community support to help with ongoing funding needs. 

When asked to summarize the current work and needs of De la Cruz Farms, Bencita Brooks responded: “De la Cruz continues to provide one-on-one sessions to children, adults and families using the farm environment to help participants restore, grow and learn. We continue to serve individuals with a variety of abilities, utilizing horse movements to improve functional skills in daily living.”  

De la Cruz also hosts (eight) day-camp experiences at De la Cruz during the summer for adolescents 10-14 years of age who are learning about Bible truths, prayer, animal, care and farm management. 

The ministry partners with Watauga Opportunities by welcoming their motivated clients to volunteer at the farm.

“We partner with local healthcare organizations by providing the farm environment as a place to meet with families and have supervised visits,” Brooks added. “De la Cruz partners with local pediatrician, Clint Zimmerman, M.D., and other professionals, in teaching Love And Logic classes.”

The organization also partners with youth mission groups to provide Vacation Bible School and conduct community projects. 

“We provide educational opportunities to local groups, such as schools, day care groups, youth groups  etc. to help them learn about how honey is harvested, the importance of honeybees, horse safety and care, learning about sheep and chickens, growing vegetable gardens and farm maintenance.” 

Keeping bees and harvesting their honey to sell in recent years has helped substantially with the ministry operation, as does the recent addition of an “Air bee-n-bee,” part of the honey house. 

According to Jeff Brooks, a “bumper crop” of sourwood honey will be available for purchase at the event.

The success of De La Cruz Farms hinges greatly on the support of an amazing board of directors, along with a few dedicated staff members and volunteers. “We couldn’t do what we do without our community of helpers and our donors,” Bencita surmised. “We are very grateful for all the help we receive from our supporters.” 

Who Is Dan Roberts?

Award-winning singer/songwriter, Dan Roberts, has spent the last dozen years as a solo artist in Texas. For 18 years prior, he was in Nashville, honing his craft as a songwriter, writing numerous billboard chart songs, including several for Garth Brooks. Teaming up with Brooks and Bryan Kennedy to write the #1  hit, The Beaches of Cheyenne, proved to be a great move. Garth signed Roberts and Kennedy to a two-year deal to open his world tour in 1996-97. 

Roberts’s own recorded projects include: There’s a Little Cowboy in All of Us, Cowhand.com, Viva La Cowboy and Family, Faith and Freedom. Viva La Cowboy received three Grammy recognitions and featured two chart singles on the Texas Music Chart — I’m the One to Call and Swingin’ Till We Can’t See Strait.

In 2000, Roberts and his family moved to Texas, where he was awarded Male Vocalist of the Year 2001 and Entertainer of the Year 2002 for the Academy of Western Artists.

His music career and life, in general, took on a new meaning after his daughter, Austin, fought and won a two-year battle with brain cancer. Dan and  his wife, Carol, established the Refuse to Lose Fund. The goal was to raise 4.5 million dollars to purchase the same technology that saved his daughters life at UCLA Medical Center in Los Angles. The Roberts partnered with Cook Children’s Medical Center to bring that technology to Ft. Worth, Texas. To date, the technology has been used in over 1,000 neurosurgeries.

Roberts received the 2004 Terry Awards Entertainer of the Year. His latest gospel CD — Family, Faith & Freedom — is a tribute to the music that has shaped his life. “The winning combination of the music and the mission is what makes it all worthwhile,” he said.

Coming to the High Country is something Roberts is greatly anticipating and hopes it will have a significant impact upon the ongoing mission of De la Cruz. The Roberts’ daughter, Maggie Stretch, is a volunteer at De la Cruz, and with her husband, Logan, works at Samaritan’s Purse in Boone, 

Bob Kugot, well-known fiddle/violin maker and musician from nearby Caldwell County, will be performing at the Honey Harvest Hoedown. Photo submitted.

Bob Kugot

In addition to building fiddles and violins, Bog Kugot is known in the area as an accomplished fiddler “and trusty sideman.” He moved to western North Carolina around 1999, after playing several gigs at Merlefest and falling in love with the area. Kugot has played fiddle with many area bands, including The Neighbors, The Kruger Brothers, Wild Goose Chase, Musica Nostra and Down the Hall. He especially likes playing fiddle for contra dances. He uses performing and playing engagements as opportunities to test out his newest instruments. 

Kugot has taught violin set-up and repair classes and workshops. He has demonstrated and displayed his work at various local and regional events, including the Appalachian State Fiddlers Convention, Happy Valley Fiddlers Convention and Merlefest.  

He is a sponsor of Merlefest, which auctions off one of his instruments each year. He also serves on the board of the Blue Ridge Artisan Center and on the standards committee in Wilkesboro.

More Information About Honey Harvest Hoedown

Admission is $10 (suggested donation) for adults with kids free;  pony rides and food truck purchases are extra. 

Sponsors for this year’s event (to date) include Blue Ridge Pediatric & Adolescent Medicine, Inc.,  Ascent Veterinary Health and Backcountry Chiropractic and Mountain Kubota of Boone. 

For more information about De la Cruz, the Honey Harvest Hoedown/baking contest, visit www.delacruzfarms.com

If you are unable to attend, but would like to help fund this ministry, donations may be mailed to De la Cruz Farms, PO Box 165

Deep Gap, North Carolina 28618.

De la Cruz Farms is located just across from Deep Gap Fire Department on Old 421 in Deep Gap.