SOUTH WHITLEY — Hundreds of Whitley County residents came together this weekend for the ninth annual Plow Day and Benefit, hosted at Doug and Terry Reiff’s farm.

Festivities included a multitude of children’s games, an animal petting barn, ample Amish food and, of course, the trademark plowing of a field.

Henry Haywood goes bowling. Teachers from South Whitley Elementary have worked the kids games since the first Plow Day.

What makes this family-friendly event stand out is the way it brings the whole community together. As attendees remarked, the Amish and “English,” or non-Amish, seamlessly enjoy the event side-by-side.

“[The planning committee] wants to bring the community together for the whole neighborhood to enjoy it like a family get-together,” said Steve Sickafoose, a member of the committee. “We are always careful with our events to make sure the Amish are not left out.”

Terry Reiff, who hosted this year’s Plow Day with her husband Doug, notes her close ties with the Amish in the area.

“We have Amish neighbors, so we intermingle with them regularly,” she said. “They’re like family.”

Doug Reiff agrees.

“This whole event couldn’t happen without them,” he said. “They orchestrate a lot of the food and animals.

Two adjacent fields were plowed by chains of tractors with approximately 30 tractors — and many more spectators — in attendance.

William Hilty, an Amish neighbor to the Reiffs and member of the planning committee, did not hesitate to acknowledge the relationship between the two communities.

“We get together three or four other times a year,” he said.

“Whenever we do get together, there’s always plenty of food,” Doug Reiff said.

Each year, Plow Day changes slightly to keep the event fresh.

“Every year you try to change and one we’ve made since the first year is adding kids’ games to the event to give them something and introduce them to agriculture,” Sickafoose said.

Sickafoose sees a bright future for Plow Day.

“Another thing we’re trying to get younger couples introduced to the event,” he said. “Right now we have about 30 young families involved, and just look at how many young people are here today.”