Outdoors

Doodlebug / Jitterbug Pull Sunday, July 21, at The Curran Homestead

Posted July 17, 2013, at 10:24 p.m.

You’ve heard about (and perhaps watched) horse pulling, tractor pulling, and truck pulling, but what about “Doodlebug” pulling? More often than not locally, these same antique vehicles are known as “Jitterbugs” or “Depression tractors.” “You won’t want to miss these cleverly-engineered and colorfully painted antique machines as they battle to pull the biggest load!” advised Karen and Irv Marsters of Glenburn, who helped with the most recent Jitterbug/Doodlebug Pulling Competition held at the Farmington Tractor Festival in June. “We’re excited that the drivers have agreed to schedule their next showdown as a special event during our 22nd Anniversary Summer Festival,” the Marsters added.

On Sunday, July 21 at 1 p.m. (the second of a 2-day Summer Festival), the Curran Homestead Living History Farm & Museum will partner with the Maine Antique Tractor Club to host a Doodlebug Pulling Challenge at the Curran Farm as part of the Town of Orrington’s Olde Home Week celebrating its 225th Anniversary. Members of the Maine Antique Tractor Club and their families will be special guests and will display their vintage machines and equipment at the Farm.

A Doodlebug is a vehicle that must be older than 1950, have no tractor parts (unless those parts have nothing to do with the pulling) and vary in pulling classes mostly by the number of transmissions and the weight of the vehicle. The last Doodlebug Challenge held in Farmington during June featured competition among drivers from Central and Eastern Maine featuring three 1930’s Model A’s, a 1933 Chevy, a 1940 K5 International, two late ’40’s Chevy’s and a ’49 Ford. The winner of the top weight class pulled about 7 tons of weight.

The local challenge will operate under the rules established by EDGE&TA, (Early Days Gas Engines & Tractor Association), whose primary objectives are to support friendship, networking, fun, vintage vehicles and equipment, driver competition and safety. The Curran Homestead will award trophies to the top three winners in each of the three pulling classes. Visitors will get copies of the rules of the pulling challenge. Karen and Irv Marsters, who both serve on the Curran Board, will narrate the Challenge, introduce the drivers and their vehicles and keep spectators abreast of what’s happening during the meet.

Richard Stockford, President of the Curran Homestead Board of Directors, has proclaimed July 21 as Open Farm Day at the Curran Farm in recognition of the Maine Department of Agriculture’s statewide promotion and the expected visit of Commissioner Walt Whitcomb to the Curran Farm. A ceremony honoring the Howard family of Orrington is also scheduled for 11 a.m. Sunday. The farm will open its gates to visitors at 9 a.m. Admission is $6.00 per adult $3.00 per student with a maximum cost of $20.00 per family (includes all activities except the barbeque cookout which begins at 11:30. From 9 a.m. to noon there will be various Model T and tractor-driven rides, music, various living history demonstrations, tours of the farm and the recently-acquired collection of family-farm implements and equipment. Curran volunteers under the direction of John Mugnai will cook up a tasty serving of hot dogs, hamburgers, and chicken for purchase. The Bluegrass Band “Freshly Cut Grass” will perform at noon.

Visitors are encouraged to bring their own lawn chairs for the Doodlebug Pulling Challenge in the afternoon since viewing will be on the farm’s hillside overlooking the pulling pad built by Lane Construction.

The Curran Homestead, celebrating its 22nd Anniversary year, is a living history farm and museum preserving a vast collection of eclectic, turn-of-the-20th-century artifacts for educational purposes. Using these original and reproduction artifacts, the Curran volunteers provide hands-on experiences and exhibits illustrating the rural farm-family culture and economy in Maine, provoking thought and discussion about our history. Located at 372 Fields Pond Road in Orrington, The Curran Homestead is an all-volunteer community education project and a 501(c)(3) nonprofit corporation that relies on its members, donors and the community for support. For more information: www.curranhomestead.org

DIRECTIONS TO CURRAN FARM FROM BANGOR: Cross the Penobscot River to Brewer and proceed out Wilson Street; at McDonalds turn right onto Green Point Road and go to the end. Turn left on Wiswell Road and go 1.6 miles to a right turn onto Fields Pond Road. The Curran Homestead is on the right about 1 mile.

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