04/25/12 — Vintage farm equipment show May 4-5

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Vintage farm equipment show May 4-5

By Steve Herring
Published in News on April 25, 2012 1:46 PM

DUDLEY -- Ralph McKeel of Goldsboro enjoys watching people's reactions as he explains the unusual pieces of equipment on display during the Antique Farm Equipment Days. The show is, he said, a way to preserve a piece of Americana that most people are not familiar with.

McKeel is hopeful that this year's 11th annual event, sponsored by the Eastern Carolina Vintage Farm Equipment Club, will be the biggest yet.

The show will be held May 4 and 5 from 8 a.m. until 5 p.m. at the Wayne County Fairgrounds.

Not only is there no admission, there is no charge for people who want to set up a display.

"The public is invited and if they have an old piece of equipment they want to take to the fairgrounds and show, by all means bring it," he said. "There is no charge. We sell hot dogs, hamburgers and drinks.

"Our club meetings and club activities provide a clean family atmosphere. We do not permit alcohol and drugs at any of our functions."

Proceeds are used by the club for community projects including scholarships to eastern North Carolina high school students awarded through the FFA.

"How it started off we help at the Wayne Regional Fair every year with the school children taking them around the fairgrounds," said McKeel, who has collected tractors since he was 18. "We are paid by doing that, consequently we also get a week, anytime of our choosing, anytime the grounds are not being used. Ours is the first week of May. That is when we have our show.

"This started out the first weekend in May. We were all going to get together and show. It has developed into a little more than that. I am hoping this is the biggest year ever. I have a brother who is almost 13 years younger than me and he doesn't know anything about this stuff. I am 46. We invite the public in to see how farming was done up to 100 years ago. That is something that people just don't know."

Working exhibits include hit-and-miss engines, a grain mill, and a miniature hay baler that actually produces miniature hay bales that will be for sale for $2 each.

One-hit-and-miss motor is connected to an ice cream maker and the ice cream will be sold with proceeds going to the club for its community projects.

Exhibitors and vendors will set up on May 3 and 4.

There is no fee, but vendors are asked to make a donation to the club if they make any money. Anyone interested in being a vendor should contact John Bertlshofer at 919-735-2254

The opening ceremony will he held at 10 a.m. on May 5. Events on tap for that day include a Parade of Power, children's games, a children's pedal tractor pull, classic car show and a lawn mower pull.

While the show is free, there is a fee to enter the lawn mower pull that is being sponsored by East Coast Pullers of Loris, S.C.

The nonprofit Eastern Carolina Vintage Farm Equipment Club was founded on Feb. 17, 2001 with 45 members.

"We have a hundred plus members now," McKeel said. "Most of the members are from Wayne and surrounding counties. All you need is an interest in old antique equipment. You don't need to own anything.

"The purpose of the club is to preserve our agricultural heritage by restoring and exhibiting antique farm equipment in an effort to educate the citizens of eastern North Carolina."

The club's financial goal is to provide scholarships to high school students who have an interested in continuing their education in agriculture, he said.

The club provides demonstrations and exhibits for public school students upon invitation, McKeel said.

Members meet on the first Thursday night of each month at 7 p.m. at the Cherry Hospital Farm.

For more information, call McKeel at 919-440-9282.