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Antique Tractor and Engine Show
Where Memories Are Preserved and Made

Above Photo: Everything with green paint was a John Deere. The show also featured Case and Oliver tractors.
-Photo by Jeffry Boatright

By Jeffry Boatright

Antique tractor enthusiasts traveled from near and far last week to admire the machinery of yesteryear at the 30th Annual Stephen Foster Antique Tractor and Engine Show.

The fun-filled event, which took place at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park in White Springs, officially kicked off on the morning of April 5, with equipment exhibits and demonstrations. Exhibitors displayed vintage tools and implements, along with antique trucks and engines for everyone to see. With historic items ranging from old-fashioned hand tools to working steam engines, there was an abundance of interesting restorations throughout the grounds.

Visitors of all ages gathered at the state park to catch a glimpse of their favorite tractors from an era of two-cylinder John Deere, Minneapolis-Moline and Farmall tractors. Meandering about the scenic park, visitors found the exhibitors more than willing to share the history of the beautiful machines they had invested countless hours into restoring.

In most cases, the owners of the antiquated farm tractors were even eager to fire up their machines for spectators to hear. It was music to the ears of senior adults who instantly traveled back to a simpler time when dreams often revolved around the new two-row diesel tractors. Young adults and children also found joy in seeing and hearing the tractors of old that, in some cases, they had only heard of from previous generations.

Of course, the points of interest were not limited to farm implements, antique engines and equipment. Guests marveled over the scale models of a logging operation, lumber mill and a turpentine still, all of which had been set up in the auditorium for indoor viewing. The intricate details provided onlookers with a realistic impression of those industries which played such a vital role for the settlers and pioneers of North Florida.

Any good outing offers flavorsome foods, and the antique tractor and engine show was no exception. Food vendors were on hand to satisfy the urge for a snack, or a meal. Kettle corn, funnel cakes and root beer floats, along with other treats were available throughout the event.

The three-day event, which concluded on April 7, also provided plenty of entertainment for everyone to enjoy. Children’s games and activities were certainly a hit for those in attendance. The antique tractor pull competition also offered excitement for everyone, as crowds cheered on their favorite tractors and drivers.

According to Park Specialist Andrea Thomas, exhibitors from various parts of the United States showcased their restorations for guests to see. She stated that while a number of local exhibitors were present, others also came from all over Florida. She added that some exhibitors even came from as far as Indiana and Illinois. Thomas added that one gentleman, who has been a regular attendee of the show, came from Canada to help out with the event. Although the weather threatened to put a damper on the weekend, Thomas acknowledged that attendance had been good for the event. She added that there were even enough tractor entries to create an antique tractor parade of nearly a mile.

While a few of the highlights from the event included a 1918 International Titan tractor, an antique Mack truck and a 1913 one-horse International steam engine, the event offered much more. A greater aspect of the show was the camaraderie among the exhibitors and spectators.

Certainly, each exhibitor took pride in his or her own entry, but unlike some events, the exhibitors also genuinely appreciated and cherished the success of their fellow exhibitors. Additionally, they welcomed the opportunity to share knowledge with novice onlookers, who hold the same dream they once held of restoring their machine or implement of choice.

The greatest aspect of the event, however, was the family-friendly atmosphere. As families strolled through the park, they were given the unique opportunity to view the machinery that made America. Sentimental stories were handed down, memories were recalled and new memories were made. That alone, is what makes the annual antique tractor and engine show such a success year after year.

1913 one-horse International steam engine. -Photo by Jeffery Boatright

Over 100 antique tractors were displayed at Stephen Foster Folk Culture Center State Park during last week’s 30th Annual Antique Tractor and Engine Show. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright

A Ferguson tractor sets ready for the show. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright

A highlight of the antique tractor pull was the younger participants. -Photo by Jeffry Boatright