Maine A-tractorin’ — annual show in Eliot offers view of farm machinery

Posted Aug. 01, 2011, at 11:17 a.m.

ELIOT, Maine — The smell of diesel fuel permeated the air at the Raitt Homestead Farm Museum on Saturday morning as the 16th annual Eliot Antique Tractor and Engine Show kicked off its second day of events.

More than 60 green, red, yellow and blue tractors lined the fields adjacent to the museum as families from all over the state with an interest in farming and machinery strolled around them, stopping occasionally to look at one that sparked their interest.

Mark Williamson and his wife Gail were visiting their daughter, who lives in Dover, N.H., when they saw the show advertised on the Internet.

Mark Williamson restores tractors in his home state of New York and always has been into the farming lifestyle.

“The show’s pretty good,” he said. “Great for the family.”

Judy Chick said her and her family have been attending the show for years.

“Now it’s about bringing the grandchildren,” she said.

Chick, of Eliot, said her family owns tractors and always has enjoyed going to this show.

“It’s a family activity and the kids enjoy it,” said Chick.

Along with the tractors on display, the show also offered activities, demonstrations, a flea market and an engine show lot where cars from every era were lined up to view.

Some of the activities, like the ladies’ skillet toss, the tractor parade, the kids pedal tractor pull and the antique stone boat tractor pulling happened at designated times, while demonstrations, including pumps, wood-splitting and shingle-making, occurred throughout the three-day event.

Philip St. Jean, owner of Chase Shingle Mill, has been demonstrating how to make roof shingles on his more than 100-year-old shingle-maker for the last three years at the show. However, he has been making shingles far longer than that.

“Oh I’ve been doing this since the ’60s,” he said as he smiled.

St. Jean said shingle-making is a good process to demonstrate and people seem to like it. He said when he sees someone who has never seen a shingle being made watching him work on his machine, he feels a sense of pride.

“I feel like a school teacher,” said St. Jean. “I feel like I’m showing people how America was built.”

To see more of Foster’s Daily Democrat, go to http://www.fosters.com/.

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