October 2007
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Antique Implements on Display

6th Annual Antique Tractor, Car, Gas Engine and Craft Show in Orrville

Children attending last year’s show are racing to the finish line on pedal tractors. Other popular youth attractions are the Funny Farm Petting Zoo, hay bales for climbing, wagon rides, face painting and the moonwalk.  
By Grace Smith

November 10 will mark the 6th Annual Antique Tractor, Car, Gas Engine and Craft Show sponsored by the Orrville Volunteer Fire Department. The show provides fundraising for the fire department’s operational expenses throughout the year.

According to Karen Grimes who helps plan the event, the community’s common interest in antique farm equipment was the spark that initiated the show.

"Several people in our area had a common interest in antique farm equipment. When they would meet at the local parts house or grocery store, the conversation would always lead to ‘we need to get together with our tractors and have our own show,’" Grimes said.

The first show consisted of mainly antique tractors and gas engines. Grimes said the first year was a great success and everyone enjoyed visiting and sharing ideas about restoring old equipment. But there was actually no mention of a second show until the late Howard Gray, a friend of hers, dropped by for a visit.

  “Most tractor owners are usually standing by to share their stories of how their tractor came to be,” Grimes said.
"Howard Gray and his wife, Faye, stopped by my house," Grimes said. They asked if they could get involved with the next show. I remember telling Mr. Gray there wasn’t going to be a second show and he replied, ‘Oh yes there is because we are going to add antique cars; you have started something nice so you have to keep it going.’"

This encouragement gave Grimes the boost she needed to begin making plans for the second show. Before long, friends began helping and the second show was underway with new activities added like crafts, cake sale, wagon rides and petting zoo.

Now, six years later, Grimes said there’s an activity for everyone, no matter what their age. Children can enjoy entertainment like the Funny Farm Petting Zoo, pedal tractor race, hay bales for climbing, wagon rides, face painting and the moonwalk. For adults, activities like the cakewalk, cake sale, dulcimer players, parade, crafts, delicious food and a bluegrass music performance by the Bailey’s of Sand Mountain is enough to keep anyone entertained for hours. Local music talents, Destiny Brown, Trisha Stacey and Bailey Jordan will also perform at the show.

Those in attendance can enjoy glimpses into the good ole days by watching events like a gristmill grinding corn, an antique hay press baling hay, basket weaving and a blacksmith work. There are usually several unusual antiques like Darrel Vick’s Bolen’s Ride Master. Grimes said this piece of equipment has a very heartwarming story, as most old pieces of farm equipment do. Also, Clete Verhoff’s one-cylinder, International gas engine hay baler will be demonstrating how hay was baled in the 1930s and 40s.

Grimes added the antique cars in attendance will date as far back as the 1920s. Some of the old tractors have been passed down from generation to generation, while others have been rescued from junkyards and briar patches. Most tractor owners are willing to share their stories of how their tractor came to be.

The parade will begin around noon and, in addition to antique tractors and cars, Orrville’s own Tennessee Walking Horse Riders will bring up the rear of the parade. Grimes said this is a treat for anyone who enjoys horses.

With such an array of activities, it is easy to understand how the event drew more than two thousand visitors last year and Grimes is anticipating even more this year.

This year’s show will take place November 10, from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the Old Orrville High School site, one block off Highway 22 west about fifteen miles west of Selma.

"This show is an opportunity for our mayor, town council, community and fire department to work together to promote our town," Grimes said. "Years ago, the late Mr. Stanhope Fraiser came up with the saying, ‘Orrville, Alabama, where living is easy.’ We would like others to know first hand we live up to this. We also feel this is a way to promote good, family fun while taking a look at the history of farming."

Grace Smith is an associate editor for AFC Cooperative Farming News.