One of the most anticipated events of the Becker County Fair for the past 11 years has been the tractor parade.
This year's parade will get underway at 10:30 a.m. Saturday, Aug. 10, with participants and their tractors gathering at Adkins Equipment, north of Detroit Lakes on Richwood Road (aka County Highway 21), starting at 8 a.m.
At 10:30 a.m., the tractors will depart the Adkins Equipment lot and head south along Richwood Road and Roosevelt Avenue, then turn west onto Langford and head across Washington Avenue to Forest Street, continuing west to Rossman Avenue, then turn south and proceed to the fairgrounds, where the participants will park their tractors for a couple of hours.
At about 2 p.m. the tractors will leave the fairgrounds and return to Adkins Equipment. Volunteer drivers also have the option of stopping at local nursing homes on the return trip to share their tractors with the residents.
Massey-Harris and Massey-Ferguson tractors will be featured in this parade, led off by Detroit Lakes resident Jerry Sather.
"The tractor I will have in the parade is a 1956 Massey-Ferguson model 50," Sather said. "It features a three point hitch, power steering, three forward gears with the high and low range, and a gas engine with live PTO. The horse power is 42.
"I purchased this tractor as a hobby and have restored it over the last four years," he added. "I am still working on it. I have driven it in many parades within a 100 mile radius of Detroit Lakes."
Sather said his love of Massey-Ferguson tractors came from his boyhood years, growing up on a small farm in northern Minnesota.
"We had Massey-Ferguson dealer in our town who sold many tractors to area farmers," he said. "I was impressed with the features of the tractors. The 1956 Massey Ferguson is the first year the 50 model was made. I had to look a long time before I found the tractor I bought. It came from southern Minnesota."
Though the original selling price for the Massey-Ferguson 50 in 1956 was $3,185, Sather added, "I've got a lot more money invested in this one than that."
"Antique tractors are my hobby," Sather said, adding that in addition to driving his Massey-Ferguson in several area parades, he also belongs to a few tractor clubs in the area.
He also has two Oliver brand tractors stored on a small acreage near Detroit Lakes that he says he is in the process of restoring as well.
"I always look forward to the Becker County Fair parade," Sather said. "I get to see a lot of different tractors. Some are restored and some are farm use every day, but they’re all older tractors and a lot of them are antiques (i.e., 50 years or older). I get to see a lot of different models and makes and it’s very interesting."
Sather said he also likes to go around the fairgrounds and view all the different tractor models on display after the parade. "People that come to the fair can get a look at what tractors used to look like. They were open seat tractors — no cabs, no A/C. It’s kind of like reminiscing on the old days and farming ... I think most of us that are driving these tractors in the parade either grew up on a farm or had a farm all their lives."
Adkins, along with parade co-sponsors Seaberg Oil Co., Hoffman's Meats, the Corn and Soybean Growers Association, American Dairy Association of Becker County, and the Agribusiness Committee of the Regional Chamber of Commerce will also host a pancake and sausage breakfast for the participants at 9 a.m.
For more information about this year's tractor parade, contact Tom Mack at 218-847-8196 (home) or 218-849-7379 (cell); or Ken Shroyer, 218-847-2674 (home) or 218 849-5596 (cell).
Fair gets underway Wednesday
Now entering its 126th year, the Becker County Fair runs Wednesday through Saturday, Aug. 7-10, at the fairgrounds in Detroit Lakes.
Though the late start to the fair this year (it's usually scheduled the last weekend in July) means that judging for several 4-H competitive events has already taken place, 4-H'ers will nevertheless be very visible throughout the fairgrounds this week.
"“We’ll be doing more demonstrations on the fairgrounds this year, on Thursday, Friday and Saturday,” said Becker County Extension 4-H Coordinator Gina Schauer. "The demos will be taking place whenever the kids have time throughout the afternoon and evenings."
Though there is no set schedule for the demonstrations, the point is "encouraging the kids to be more public friendly," she added. "There will be a small area set up by the beef barn where they can take their animals and interact with the public."
For the second year in a row, Becker County is fielding two 4-H horse drill teams — both of which earned a berth at the State 4-H Horse Show, which takes place Sept. 13-16 at the Minnesota State Fairgrounds in St. Paul. (Last year, one of the two Becker County teams went home with a state title.)
To demonstrate their championship-winning form, both teams will be doing a public demonstration immediately following the Becker County 4-H Horse Show at 8 a.m. Friday, Aug. 9, at the fairgrounds. (Note: This is a change from the original fair schedule, which had the drill team performance slated for Saturday morning.)
Other noncompetitive 4-H events include the Fashion Revue under the Big Tent at 12:30 p.m. Saturday; and the Performing Arts Showcase at 2:30 p.m. Saturday, also under the Big Tent.
New events this year include Automotive Barrel Racing, 7 p.m. Wednesday, Aug. 7; and the inaugural April Stenger Memorial Volleyball Tournament Thursday, Aug. 8, near the Horse Arena. The tournament is a charitable event in honor of April Stenger, a Frazee native who later lived in Lake Park. She was killed in a boat crash in 2015, at the age of 26.
Essentia Health will also be sponsoring a comfort station for mothers and babies during the county fair this year. According to Essentia Health media relations specialist Tara Ekren, the comfort station is intended to be "a space for families to come for feedings and diaper changes or to just get out of the elements with the kiddos."
A complete schedule can be found online at beckercountyfair.com.