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Kids with 'pull' star at Farm Toy Show

November 21, 2004|by TAMELA BAKER

tammyb@herald-mail.com

SHARPSBURG - Old toys, new toys, farm toys of all description lined booths at the Washington County Agricultural Education Center this weekend, turning the exhibition hall into a rustic paradise for country-minded tots.

Vendors hawked model tractors, toy grain trucks, even mini hay bales. A display of pint-sized pedal-propelled tractors invited examination, but signs warned that the toys were not for sale - or even for touching.

Not all of the toys were geared toward children - along with model John Deere tractors, visitors could purchase John Deere desk clocks, John Deere dustpans, John Deere oven mitts and John Deere ceiling fans.

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And just so no age group was left out, a John Deere nursery combo including a bottle, rattle and bib sold for $15.

Since you can't have a good pre-Christmas toy show without the jolly old elf himself, Santa - clad in red cap, red jacket and blue jeans, in keeping with the farm theme - dispensed bags of candy to the children in attendance and took orders for Christmas morning.

"Some will sit on your lap," observed Phil Muritz of Smithsburg, aka Kris Kringle. " Others won't even come close. Usually the big ones just get the candy and go."

But at noon Saturday, they all flocked to the kiddie pedal-pull to see who could pedal a toy tractor farthest - with the most weight.

Each competitor, face filled with concentration, pushed and grunted toward the goal - a full pull across the back of the building. Jacob Hose, 5, of Fairplay, easily pulled the 20-pound weight to the finish line, but was puffing a little at 50 pounds.

"I told you to eat your Cheerios this morning," admonished his grandmother, Louise Turner of Beaver Creek. Jacob got about halfway down the course pulling the 90-pound weight before running out of steam.

In the end, David Thomas of Fallston, Md., pedaled like a pro to win the 5- to 6-year-old heat. His mother, Anita, said he pedals frequently at home.

"He likes to drive," she said.

Pedal-pulls are a family affair for the Thomases. Older brother Jimmy, 7, placed in the 7- to 8-year-old category, but the first-place winner was Jamie Baker, 8, of Boonsboro.

But Jamie's spot in the winner's circle seemed to be in jeopardy for a moment.

"I slipped off the seat," he said.

Winning the 9- to 10-year-old division was Katrina Smith, 9, of Clear Spring, who said she has at least seven other trophies for pedal-pulls.

The farm toy show, in its 17th year, is sponsored by the Tri-State Farm Toy Collectors Club.

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