Ag day events to ‘overwhelm’ square
With the promise to “overwhelm” the square on Thursday of the 175th Anniversary Celebration, Ag Day chair Jerome Vittetoe asks area motorists to be patient if a line of antique tractors up to a mile long is running on city streets.
He said that the group of antique tractor pilots will meet at the Washington County Fairgrounds at about 3 p.m. to plan the event. The group might split in two for the off-square events. Tractor parades are planned at Halcyon House and the United Presbyterian Home from 4 to 6 p.m. Some traffic delays are expected when the parade crosses main roads. Vittetoe plans to map out the routes with the Washington Police Department before the event. The tractors will then be displayed on the square.
“One point I want to make during the event is the differences and transition in machinery since the evolution of farming,” Vittetoe said. “I am going to have the cost of some of the tractors and what the older tractors cost when they were new. A lot of people don’t realize exactly how expensive this stuff is and the technology that is behind it.”
In a shed on his farm, Vittetoe showed old and new technologies in farming. In one space (pictured above) a 1952 McCormick Super W6 sits next to a much larger 2014 Case/IH Quad Track 450. He said both will be displayed. Some of the other displays will include a John Deere combine, a tractor and planter, and a manure applicator tool bar manufactured at Bazooka Farmstar in Washington.
The old and new displays are meant to inform people unfamiliar with agriculture about the progression and expense of farming.
“Most people — the closest they get to one of these is when they follow you down the highway when they can’t get around you,” Vittetoe said. “This way they will be able to come up and see the size of it.”
Ag Day will begin at 9 a.m. with Farm Safety Day at the Washington County Fairgrounds. At the same time a display with the history of 4-H and FFA will be shown in the Washington Public Library. Modern Ag displays will be shown around the square most of the day. At 3 p.m. a hands-on display of agriculture for young people, called Little Hands on the Farm — which will include live animals — will be held, followed by a kids’ pedal tractor pull at 4 p.m.
Commodity food booths — with beef, pork, and turkey — will be set up around the square. The weekly running of the farmers market will also be held in Central Park. The Washington Tree Committee is planning to give away 175 tree seedlings on the square beginning at 6 p.m.
Vittetoe said that square dancing will be held at 6:30 p.m. on the Central Park bandshell. The Washington Municipal Band will cap off the evening at 8 p.m. with a free concert.
The Ag Day committee has been working on the day’s events for over a year, Vittetoe said. He said that he had studied past reports of centennials, which gave ideas for the event.
“I just want them to take away that modern agriculture isn’t bad,” he said. “It is just modern agriculture. It is just a transition like any business.”