Perspectives Online

Zucchini 500 draws crowd to Kannapolis market

Spectators young and young-at-heart await the start of a Zucchini 500 race at the N.C. Research Campus Farmers Market in Kannapolis
All photos courtesy Leah Chester-Davis

A Wolfpack theme was prominent among the zucchini cars outfitted to compete in the race.
Fifty zucchini cars, outfitted to compete in four categories, packed the judges tables prior to the Zucchini 500 at the N.C. Research Campus Farmers Market in Kannapolis. The race itself was the big draw, with children of all ages enjoying the fun. Planned and hosted by N.C. State University and N.C. Cooperative Extension, the event was packed with imagination, creativity, local foods and loads of fun. The organizers planned the fun event to help raise awareness of the N.C. Research Campus Farmers Market and to encourage people to support their local farmers.

Bobby Waltrip, of the legendary Waltrip racing family, called the races. Jay White, Cabarrus County Board of Commissioners; Dr. Mary Grace, senior researcher with N.C. State's Plants for Human Health Institute; and Renee Goodnight, community outreach coordinator for the city of Kannapolis, were the judges. In addition to the races, zucchini cars were judged in the categories of Most Nutritious, Best School Spirit, Best NASCAR Theme and Most Creative.

Zucchini recipes from The Produce Lady were available at the event held to help raise awareness of the N.C. Research Campus Farmers Market and to encourage people’s support of local farmers.
Every child who participated received a certificate, a coupon for a free ice cream sundae from Bruster’s Real Ice Cream and a fruit-themed stuffed animal from the Dole Food Co. Winners of the prize categories received Summer Shootout Series tickets from Lowe’s Motor Speedway. Other prizes included a free three-month family membership to the Cannon YMCA for one lucky family and an ice cream cake from Bruster’s.

Both Tara Vogelien, with the Plants for Human Health Institute, and Leah Chester-Davis, Program for Value-Added & Alternative Agriculture at the N.C. Research Campus, work closely with the campus farmers market. The two headed up the N.C. State University team that hosted the event.