Annual Field Days to feature tractors, demonstrations
By Anna Erickson
Park Rapids Antique Tractor and Engine Club members are hard at work this week preparing the 40-acre grounds for Field Days this weekend.
Club secretary Noel Allard said much of the work includes mowing the grounds.
“Once we’re done we have to pretty much start over again,” he said.
The club maintains the grounds throughout the summer. People are able to rent the grounds and buildings for weddings, reunions and other events. Camping sites are also available.
This week, in addition to regular maintenance, club members are getting the track ready for the tractor pull Saturday, planting flowers, lining up tractors and cleaning buildings.
The 22nd annual Field Days event is Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2-3 from 7 a.m. to 5 p.m.
On Saturday, special events will include sawmill demonstrations, tractor parades, a tractor pull and field demonstrations.
“It’s a family-friendly event with things to do for the kids,” Allard said.
It is largely educational. The club has about 60 members who, along with maintaining the grounds, buildings and equipment, educate future generations about the history of farming. Many of the tractors are from the early part of the century through 1950.
The club owns several tractors and members also keep some of their tractors at the grounds for display.
Doug Dickinson is one of the founding tractor club members.
He grew up on a farm and continues to farm, although on a small scale. He is mostly retired.
Dickinson often heads out to the tractor grounds to simply enjoy the scenery and let his dog run around, which is a perk of membership.
“It’s such a relaxing place,” he said.
He was also helping spruce up the grounds for this weekend’s event.
Noel’s wife, Mary, was also helping to plant flowers on the grounds and maintain the garden.
On Sunday, special events will include field and sawmill demonstrations, a youth pedal tractor pull, a tractor parade and also square dancing.
The club has a thresher that is used for demonstrations most years. This year, however, the crops might not be ready by this weekend, Allard said.
Ongoing activities throughout both days include combining, shingle making, and more.
A raffle on Sunday night will conclude the event with first place winning a 1949 John Deere B, second place winning a John Deere Pedal Tractor and third place wining a John Deere quilt.
The club tries to have a different kind of tractor up for a raffle each year.
New members are welcome. In fact, the club is working to attract younger members. The dues are $10 per year and members have full access to the grounds.
“People can come out here for a picnic and see the deer and other wildlife,” Allard said.
To get to the tractor grounds turn south on Henrietta Avenue for about half a mile and turn right on 8th Street.
For more information about becoming a member of the tractor club or booking an event, contact Allard at 732-5100.