Parade of tractors highlights Pa. event

August 15, 2004|by BONNIE H. BRECHBILL

CHAMBERSBURG, Pa. - With the air hazy with tractor exhaust and smoke from the blacksmith shed, a parade of antique tractors wound its way Saturday along a dirt path through the woods of the Cumberland Valley Antique Engine and Machinery Association's 35-acre grounds.

Some of the tractors taking part in the 22nd annual Steam and Gas Show took the slight hill in front of the blacksmith shop easily, while others strained and roared and a few stalled. It took more than an hour for the parade to pass.

Association President Mike Gratton led the parade on a John Deere tractor, the featured make of machinery this year. Gratton said he counted 156 John Deeres Friday, and more came in Saturday. He estimated that 400 to 500 tractors of various makes were on the grounds for the three-day show.


The Antique Engine and Machinery Association is a nonprofit educational organization that preserves, restores and shows farm machinery.

Children on small tractors waited on a side path to join the parade.

Cory Lape, 11, sat on a 1973 Cub Cadet garden tractor. He has mowed the grass at home with the yellow machine, but this was his first time driving it in a parade, he said. He customized the hood himself with flames.

Cory's father, Troy Lape of Bethel, Pa., near Reading, said he and his son drove two hours to attend the show.

Many other makes of tractors such as Oliver, Allis-Chalmers, Minneapolis Moline and Case, along with combines, old autos, a firetruck and a Conestoga wagon, were displayed.

Steam and gas engines ran in the woods, and there were demonstrations of saw milling, stone crushing, threshing and blacksmithing, along with antique tractor pulls, garden tractor pulls and a flea market.

Dr. J. Stanley Stratton, a local veterinarian who is active in the association, said he was pleased with the size of the crowd.

"There was a wonderful response today," Stratton said. "People were afraid of the weather yesterday, but even so, the tractor pulls went on 'til 10 p.m."

After the parade, a John Deere-themed quilt was auctioned for $1,400 to retired farmers Stan and LaVaughne Wolf of Gettysburg, Pa. Stan Wolf has 54 restored tractors of various makes, his wife said, "but I'm a John Deere lawn mower person."

She added that she has been interested in quilts all her life and is taking quilting lessons.

"The workmanship on this quilt is outstanding," she said.

The quilt is the work of Anna Mary Frey of Mercersburg, Pa. She pieced and quilted it over a period of two months, she said. Her brother, Aden Meyers of St. Thomas, Pa., took two of the photos that appear as blocks on the quilt and had them photocopied onto cloth.

Today's activities include breakfast at 7 a.m., an all-faith worship service at 9 a.m., a tractor parade at 1 p.m. and a Kiddie Tractor Pull at 3 p.m. Admission and parking are free.

If you go

What: 22nd annual Steam and Gas Show

When: Today, 7 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Where: U.S. 30, five miles west of Chambersburg, Pa., then 11/4 miles north on Twin Bridge Road

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