PENFIELD, Ill. — With the uncertainty of what lies ahead for the coronavirus pandemic, Historic Farm Days will be taking a year off.
The I & I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club board of directors met May 14 and agreed to cancel the July 9-12 show held annually at the former Penfield Grade School and adjoining grounds.
“The board decided with the COVID-19 going on and the restrictions in Illinois as far as opening up the state again to cancel the show,” said Chuck Stelter, I & I Club president.
“We didn’t want to do it, but there was just no way we could see Illinois opening up before the show and any way to make it work.”
Waiting to make a last minute go or no-go decision was not feasible due to all of the logistics involved in the planning of this large show that draws thousands of visitors and participants.
“You have to give everyone time, there’s the food service people, there’s equipment, port-o-potties, light towers and all kinds of things that we rent. There’s insurance to deal with. So, if you’re going to cancel it, you’d better do it early. You can’t wait until the last minute,” Stelter said.
“We hated to cancel it, but there was nothing else we could do.”
Drawing Still On
The I & I Club will still hold its drawing for a Minneapolis-Moline G1000 Wheatland tractor.
The drawing will be held July 12 at 2 p.m. Only 300 tickets will be sold. There are downloadable ticket forms on the event’s website at www.historicfarmdays.com or contact one of the board members, including Stelter. Contact information is on the website.
The I & I board and its members are turning their focus to next year’s show, scheduled for July 8-11, 2021.
“Next year we will do a double-feature. We are going to feature Massey-Ferguson along with Minneapolis-Moline and B.F. Avery. This year, it would have been Minneapolis-Moline and B.F. Avery and next year was to be Massey-Ferguson, so we’re going to have a double-feature,” Stelter noted.
The I & I was formed near Alvin, next to the Illinois-Indiana border — thus the I & I name — in 1976 and eventually made its home in Penfield.
The club’s goals included preservation of the farming methods of the past, preserving and restoring yesteryear’s equipment, holding an annual antique tractor and gas engine show and creating the Agriculture History Center at Penfield.
The first Historic Farm Days show was held in 1986 at a Champaign County forest preserve and moved to its permanent grounds in 1996.
The annual show draws thousands of visitors from Illinois, Indiana and other states.
The Hartland Oliver Collectors in conjunction with the Hart-Parr Oliver Collectors Association have canceled its summer show that was set for July 24-26 in Greenville, Illinois.
The cancellation came after the host venue, the American Farm Heritage Museum, canceled its Heritage Days over concerns related to the COVID-19 virus and restrictions which have made planning for the event uncertain.
The Hartland Oliver Collectors is made up of members primarily residing in the central and southern portions of Illinois and Indiana.