Space is still available for antique tractor and farm equipment hobbyists to display their machines at the Got to Be N.C. Festival at the State Fairgrounds May 17-19.
“The display of more than 1,000 tractors and other antique farm machinery is a highlight of the festival, and we’ve got room for more,” said Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler.
Tractors in working order can also participate in the daily tractor parade through the fairgrounds. Participation is free, but pre-registration is required.
Festival organizers also have a few spots available for independent vendors and concessionaires.
Tractor registration and vendor application forms are available at www.ncagfest.com.
Organizers expect crowds of up to 100,000 over the three days of the festival. In addition to the farm equipment display, the festival will feature the N.C. Food, Wine & Beer Expo, a bluegrass band competition, a carnival and the Pig Jig, a barbecue competition that raises money for Masonic charities.
Kenneth Robinette, chairman of the Richmond County Board of Commissioners, has been collecting antique tractors for several years.
“I’ve got 1906 A, B and M and a 1929 John Deere ‘hit and miss’ which pulls my ice cream maker,” said Robinette, and explained that a ‘hit and miss’ only has one cylinder. “It’s one of the first engines ever made and some call it a ‘poppin John’ because of the sound it makes. I used to take it up to Ellerbe for the Farm Parade.”
Robinette also said he has a 1907 Thermoil Hercules which was featured in this year’s edition of Old Farm Days Calendar, printed by Norman Durham of Pendleton, South Carolina, who travels to shows and collects the images and information.
Robinette’s Thermoil is a family original, handed down from many generations. He said his great-great-grandfather used it in Virginia to run a grits mill. During the Great Depression, the family moved to Pacolet, South Carolina, where they continued to operate a grits mill.
“I took it to the Amish in Ohio and they redid it for me,” said Robinette, about having the engine refurbished. “Now I put it on a trailer and take it to shows.”
Robinette did not say whether or not he would make it to the festival to show off his antiques this year.
Other events at the fairgrounds that weekend include the Raleigh Flea Market, the Chatlee Boat Show and Sale in the Scott Building, the Carolina Rollergirls Derby Expo in Dorton Arena, the Independent Labrador Specialty Dog Show in the Holshouser Building, and Wake County 4-H and District 4-H horse shows at the Hunt Horse Complex.
— Staff Writer Dawn M. Kurry can be reached at 910-997-3111, ext. 15, or by email at email@example.com.