Going Back in Time

Antique tractor show looks back on valley history
Members of the Massanutten Antique Tractor and Gasoline Engine Club participate in a group trail ride during a past show in Woodstock. This year's show will be held this weekend on the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds. Photo courtesy of Massanutten Antique Tractor and Gasoline Engine Club
A poster-sized enlargement of this Morrison Studio photo of the first John Deere dealership in Shenandoah County will be raffled off during the antique tractor show this weekend. Courtesy photo

The Massanutten Antique Tractor and Gasoline Engine Club will hold its 26th annual show at the Shenandoah County Fairgrounds in Woodstock this weekend. The event is free, but the organization encourages attendees to bring nonperishable items to donate to the local food bank.

This is the club’s biggest event of the year, something members begin prepping for months in advance.

“It’s not a money-maker. It’s more about community outreach,” said Janet Kocon, membership secretary for the club. “It’s just a general fun time for everybody.”

Festivities begin at 4 p.m.Friday with tractor games, a parade and poker run. New for this year is a lawn party, which begins at 6 p.m. and features live music from the classic rock band Natural Selection. Based out of Reston, the group performs songs by iconic bands such as the Beatles, the Beach Boys, Fleetwood Mac and the Rolling Stones.

“This is the first time in many years that we’ve had music, so we’re really looking forward to that,” said Kocon.

Saturday boasts an assortment of activities, including the Farm Toy Show and Antique Tractor Pull. The Children’s Fair runs from 9 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday and 9 a.m. to 2 p.m. Sunday. Children 8 and under can participate in the Children’s Pedal Tractor Races at 10 a.m. Saturday.

Sunday starts with a non-denominational church service at 8 a.m. before kicking off more events like the Tractor Trail Ride and Garden Tractor Pull.

The theme of this year’s show is “The Year of the Deere.” Each year, the theme rotates to focus on a different tractor brand. According to Kocon, all the major brands like Deere and Massey Ferguson are represented, and then every few years they focus on the “orphans.”

In connection with the theme, the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum is collaborating with the Massanutten Antique Tractor and Gasoline Engine Club for the event. The museum will have a number of items representing the history of John Deere in the valley on display. Among them is a poster-sized enlargement of a Morrison Studio photo of the first John Deere dealership in Shenandoah County, which will be raffled off during the weekend.

Owned by William Jacob Keller Sr., the dealership was located in Toms Brook. The picture captures a moment in history, of buildings that no longer exist.

Karen Cooper, president of the Shenandoah Germanic Heritage Museum, said the photo showed them a lot. “We were pretty excited when we got to look at it enlarged,” said said.

“We know that we had apples leaving Toms Brook for England in the 1930s and when the picture is blown up you can see wagons filled with apples.”

Throughout the weekend, different tractors, engines and equipment will be on display. This year’s featured tractor and engine are a 1948 John Deere M tractor and a 1928 John Deere Model-E gas engine. There will also be a flea market/yard sale, blacksmithing demonstrations and HAM radio demonstrations.

Local food vendors such as Tony’s Pizza, Rutz’s Backyard BBQ, the Fort Valley Ruritan Club, B&C Rinds and the Naughty Girls Donut Shop will be set up at the fairgrounds throughout the weekend.

For more information, visit www.massanuttenantiquetractor.com.

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