Annual Antique Farm Days starts Friday
By Steve Herring
Published in News on May 1, 2013 1:46 PM
DUDLEY -- Ralph McKeel jokes that his prediction that last year's Antique Farm Equipment Days would be the biggest ever is his same prediction for this year's.
"It was the biggest one we had ever had," McKeel said. "It is going to be bigger than last year. We have over 30 vendors, agriculture and non-agriculture related items."
Admission to the 12th annual event, which will be held Friday and Saturday, is free and there is no charge for people who want to set up displays.
It will run from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. each day with opening ceremonies Saturday at 9 a.m. Food will be available from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Saturday's events will include demonstrations, a Parade of Power, children's games, children's pedal tractor pull and displays of tractors and hit-and-miss engines. An auction will start at 1 p.m.
It is a family-oriented event and no alcohol is allowed, said McKeel, president of the non-profit Eastern Carolina Vintage Farm Equipment Club that sponsors the fundraiser. The club is operating the food concession out of the Grantham Grange fair booth.
"If anyone has any equipment they want to exhibit, they are free to bring it and exhibit it free of charge and support our club through our sale of food items and through supporting our vendors," he said. "Our vendors, we ask for a donation from them or an item they sell for our auction.
"Our auction is going to at 1 o'clock on Saturday. We are supposed to have some farm equipment, tractors, farm-related items, as well as non-farm related items. We are getting stuff donated from businesses in the area. The Parade of Power, generally that is anything with a motor that you can drive or if you want to get in line. All of this is usually going on at about the same time."
Vendors will be offering a variety of items including old tools, tractor and equipment parts old and new, early 1900s household items, cast iron items and tobacco cutters, he said.
The club started when a "bunch of fellows" who had old farm equipment got together to promote the equipment, McKeel said. It is dedicated to education about, and the restoration and preservation of old farm equipment.
"We have a scholarship program through FFA," McKeel said. "We provide four $500 scholarships a year. We are now members of Old Waynesborough Park. We were at Pig in the Park. We have a building and grounds committee. Waynesborough Park has allocated part of the park right there when you go in the front gate. There is a tree line, the area right behind the tree line and the parking lot, they have allotted that area to us.
"We are going to build a building on it in the future. It might be six months from now. It might be a year from now, or two years from now. But I can't see it being any longer than two years. We are raising money for that, too."
Being a non-profit, the organization is also going to try to get grants from the state and other organizations to help with the building project, McKeel said. The club is planning to have a swap meet in September to raise funds for the park project, too.
"It is going to be a museum/meeting place for the club," he said. "Right now we are meeting at Waynesborough Park."
The club meets on the first Thursday night of the month at 7 p.m., except in May and July. The May meeting is held on the Thursday prior to the start of Antique Farm Equipment Days. It is not held in July because of a large show in Denton.
The club has members from Apex to Newport to Wilmington to New York, he said.
"We have a real good crowd of people, and we all have an expertise in something whether it be tractors or equipment, motors," McKeel said. "If somebody is looking a part, somebody will know somebody who's got one.
"We have over 100 members, and you do not have to have an old piece of equipment or old machine or anything like that. You just need to have the interest because a lot of people today, all they know is computers. There is no computer nowhere around this stuff. As a matter of fact it (equipment) couldn't be built today, OSHA wouldn't let them."
For more information contact McKeel at 919-440-9282, Jerry McGinnis 919-738-3082 or Mac Kornegay 919-222-6554. The club's website is oilslingers.com.