Antique Farm Show Caters to Kids
Ohio antique farm show put on by the Morrow County Antique Tractor & Equipment Assn. caters to kids
This hands-on milking exhibit is not just for kids. Showgoers of all ages get a feel for traditional farm life through displays like this.
To be successful, an antique farm show needs a hook of some kind to draw a crowd. Usually, enthusiasts display a few of their favorite tractors and equipment at a few shows. Typically, they choose shows close to home — gas prices being what they are — or shows featuring a brand from their collection.
The Morrow County (Ohio) Antique Tractor & Equipment Assn. goes one better. Although their annual antique farm show features antique farm equipment, the name of the event — “Farm Days” — gives no clue that the event showcases vintage iron. That way, members believe, they may draw in the entire local community, not just old iron aficionados.
Several years ago, a few area tractor owners decided to hold an antique farm show in Morrow County. Starting in 1990, a free, two-day event was held in a parking lot in Mount Gilead. The show included round and square dancing and raffles. An enthusiastic response encouraged the group to find a location where it might hold a real show. Ultimately, the organizers settled on the Morrow County Fairgrounds.
Today, the antique farm show includes all the events you’d expect: threshing, husking/shredding, shelling corn, chopping corn for silage, arts and crafts. Entertainment offerings include a tractor parade, tractor pulls, and demolition derbies — lawn mower, pickup truck and combine. An enormous consignment sale held on Saturday draws a big crowd; proceeds are used to defray show expenses.
Helping bridge the gap
The Morrow County show takes particular interest in young people. Loren Fulton, who was president in 2011, believes young people should be as involved in the show as their elders are. “It wouldn’t be true Farm Days if the children weren’t included,” he says.
Today’s young people have no idea what farm life was like just 50 years ago, he notes. Many rural residents don’t farm, and those who do would not recognize farm practices of the past. Moreover, today’s farm machinery bears no resemblance to machinery used decades ago. And farm operations have changed: Young people today simply cannot relate to a time when every farmer had a few cows, a few hogs and chickens, and maybe a few head of sheep; used small equipment and farmed far fewer acres.
Accordingly, the club works overtime to make the show meaningful to kids and help them feel a part of the festivities. Budding singers and dancers are invited to perform on a stage, providing entertainment for visitors who take a break on benches under shade trees. And kiddy tractor pulls are a big hit for participants and bystanders.
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