Good things come in small packages. That’s what Larry Scheckel discovered while attending a comparatively small show of antique tractors and other farm equipment last summer (read his article on the Coulee Antique Engine Club’s show). Take rare tractors, add diverse displays, a tractor pull and clever attractions for all ages, and you have the makings of a weekend of fun.
Writing this on a snowy February day, I must confess that any show of any size sounds good about now. And it’s hard to deny the charms of an enormous show. You know going in that you’ll find hundreds of displays, and it’s inevitable that some of them will be special. You know the hosts are ready for you: You’ll find people movers, maybe a huge swap meet and all kinds of great chow. Other than walking your feet off, and perhaps an inability to see everything, there is no downside to a big show.
But don’t overlook the small shows. Those in your own backyard are especially sweet. More than a few displays will showcase equipment that was used locally, and the exhibitors will be happy to share that history. You’ll hear stories you’ve never heard before, and many will enrich your knowledge of the area you call home. Plus, it can be a real pleasure to reconnect with friends and neighbors.
And then there are the niche shows — windmill trade fairs, hay tool collections, corn items, lawn & garden collectibles. All allow an up-close look at a category you may not know a lot about, and you’ll never find friendlier, more welcoming people.
Whether it’s a small show or a big one, a new show season promises treasure in abundance. All we have to do is look!
Hot off the press: Planning to take in as many shows as you can this year? Put the 2016 Farm Collector Show Directory to work! Packed with information on more than 1,000 shows coast to coast, the show directory puts dates, locations, features and contacts at your fingertips. It also contains a handy index arranged by show name, and contact information for collector groups and organizations across the U.S. FC
Leslie C. McManus is the editor of Farm Collector magazine. Contact her via email.