PENFIELD, Ill. — Ed Winkleman was around 5 years old when he first hopped on a tractor to ride along with his dad.
It was a 1936 Model A John Deere. Winkleman got hooked on the brand and has been a “green” enthusiast ever since.
Winkleman, of Armstrong, is head of the Friends of Deere Club, as well as a I & I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club director, and is involved in planning and promoting the featured brand — John Deere — for Historic Farm Days July 13-16 in Penfield.
Historic Farm Days will also observe the 100th anniversary of the John Deere D tractor and E engine, as well as the 60th anniversary of the John Deere 110 mower.
All other brands are also welcome to be part of celebrating the rich history of agriculture. Historic Farm Days highlights a different brand each year, with J.I. Case scheduled for 2024.
“We hope to get 100 John Deere Ds at the show. So far, we have them coming from about six different states,” Winkleman said.
“We would love to have one from every year they were made. The Ds were in production from 1923 to 1952. It was the longest running production series of John Deere tractors. I don’t know if we’ll get one from every year, but we’re hoping for it.
“We hope everybody comes and enjoys it. You don’t have to have a D. You can bring any John Deere that you want.”
In observance of the D series, I & I will raffle a 1925 John Deere Spoker D, as well as a 1965 John Deere 110 mower.
The historic Ds will be featured along with other brands in displays, field demonstrations, plowing and the daily parade.
“Hopefully, we’ll have one on a thrashing machine, too,” Winkleman added.
Large crowds are drawn to Historic Farm Days each year on the former Penfield Grade School grounds.
New features this year include tractor bingo in the cafeteria for youngsters. In keeping with the featured brand, there will be a seminar in the cafeteria on the production of the John Deere D series.
As for Winkleman’s enthusiasm of historic John Deere tractors, he started collecting them in 1980 when he purchased a 1937 John Deere.
“Through the years, I accumulated about 20 John Deeres. I’ve been downsizing a little bit in the last few years. It’s kind of hard to keep them all going,” he said.
“I personally have restored about 70 tractors. It just gives you a warm feeling to see those old things come back to their glory.”