RANTOUL, Ill. — About 200 booths filled with a selection of items will be featured in the vendors area of the Half Century of Progress show.

“There will be all kinds of vendors — parts vendors, antique stuff, toy vendors and a couple of guys selling tires for antique equipment,” said Barry Maury, vendors coordinator for the show.

“We’ve been getting a few more vendors about every show,” Maury said. “We have people coming from at least 15 states, including Florida, Delaware, Pennsylvania, Ohio, Nebraska and Tennessee.”

Visitors to the four-day event can shop from some unique items in the vendors area.

“Some guys do metal art work, and we have some craft vendors that make farm-related items,” Maury said. “There will be a chainsaw carver this year that will be doing demonstrations, and he will sell items that he has made.”

Maury will sell farm toys from his booth at the show. His collection of farm toys started at a young age.

“I got toys for Christmas and birthdays, and then as I got older, I kept buying toys myself,” he said. “Then I had duplicates, so I thought I’d sell some off and then I got carried away.”

The collector travels to mostly to farm toy shows during the winter months.

“I go to about 18 toy shows during a year that are mostly in Illinois,” he said. “During a couple of months, we do a show about every weekend, including a couple in Iowa.”

Not Just For Kids

Maury’s booth will offer a variety of farm toys.

“I sell everything, and most of what I collect now is what we farm with,” he said. “I probably have about 1,000 toys in my collection.”

The farmer grows corn and soybeans on his operation near St. Joseph.

“I mainly collect John Deere toys now, like the 4020,” Maury said.

“My father-in-law bought a 4020 new in 1969 that it is still in working condition,” he said. “One of these years I’ll get it restored, but we’re still using it some.”

For more information about the Half Century of Progress show, go to www.halfcenturyofprogress.com.

Martha Blum can be reached at 815-223-2558, ext. 117, or marthablum@agrinews-pubs.com. Follow her on Twitter at: @AgNews_Blum.

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