FARMINGTON — Despite sweltering humidity and intermittent rain showers Saturday, the 18th annual Maine Antique Tractor Festival attracted a large crowd.
Many came to marvel at tractors of all makes, models, sizes and colors from the 1920s to the 1960s, including this year’s featured display of a special line of about 20 Ford tractors, including a 1955 Ford 800 owned by Don Baldwin of Wiscassett.
Bob Davids, publicist of the Maine Antique Tractor Club, which held the festival, estimated the number of tractors at 125. More than 300 were expected for the three-day festival that began Friday morning at the Farmington Fairgrounds.
Some people said they came to buy tractors and/or parts, and many more came to watch and participate in tractor-pull competitions, both for adults and children.
Davids’ friend, Joseph Landry of Lewiston, came to teach tractor restoration seminars.
“If I don’t know it, this guy knows it,” Davids said of Landry’s tractor knowledge.
As tractor drivers and owners lined up at about 1 p.m. for a tractor parade through the pulling ring, Landry talked with tractor owners and enthusiasts prior to the seminar.
He took great pride in speaking about his shiny-red 1952 Farmall Super C tractor parked outside the beano building where his seminars would be held. The tractor sported an American flag and a 1775 U.S. Army flag on wooden dowels, along with a red ribbon from an Auburn event.
Inside the beano hall stood an easel and a poster board adorned with several color photographs that showed the dilapidated Farmall at a junkyard where Landry bought it and his nearly yearlong process to restore it.
“It’s fun,” Landry said. “When I find junks, I can’t resist bringing them back to life.”
Sharing the 1952 Farmall’s story, Landry said it had been in a junkyard for 30 years when he found it. He said its previous owner, a widow, had sold it to the junkyard after she had gone out into the farm field one day to find out why her husband hadn’t returned home and found him dead in the driver’s seat.
Landry said tractors in junkyards are sold based on how much they’re worth for metal salvage.
He said that after he bought the Farmall and put spark plugs, oil and fuel in it, it turned over three times when he started it.
“There ain’t nothing today that’s going to start like that after 30 years of sitting,” Landry said.
Earlier, 3-year-old Abby Bulick of Farmington kept her father, Duane Bulick, on his toes as she ran from tractor to tractor to climb up if she could into the driver’s seats. Duane Bulick said she loves tractors and he enjoys looking at old farm machinery.
Abby climbed onto a gray 9N Ford, grabbed the steering wheel and pretended she was driving it, prompting her father to share some memories.
“Fords were always gray until the late ’50s to early ’60s, and then they changed to blue and white,” Duane Bulick said. “My father used to have an 8N.”
Nearby, a little boy pointed to a tractor and blurted to his father, “That’s a Farmall, Dad! That’s a Farmall!”
Another little boy, Dawson Brown, 2, of Farmington, sat astride a Case pedal tractor, but his short legs couldn’t reach the pedals. So his father, Mike Brown, of Farmington, provided the mobility, pushing the tractor around. He said Dawson loves tractors.
“Can’t keep him off ‘em,” Mike Brown said.
Distributed by MCT Information Services