15918 A E Mullinix Road Woodbine, Maryland 21797
On August 25, 1994 I was finally able to get to the Portland, Indiana, Tractor and Engine Show. It's one of those things you talk about doing and then something comes up and you say, 'Maybe next year.' I did that the three previous years. Let me begin by telling you the trip was worth the drive and the wait. It is billed as a big show with several hundred tractors and even more stationary engines no exaggeration!
The show runs for five days and I was there the second day. I began to smile when I saw that the police were directing traffic into the fair grounds off the main highway. It was a good indication of the crowd size, and the next clue was the multiple ticket people who greet you on the street leading in. I arrived early in the day and drove into a large parking area which was filling rapidly. There was a separate area for those who desired to camp or had motor homes. There were 5,000 plus visitors there and that was a workday, Thursday. The weather was beautiful. I can't imagine what the Saturday crowd was like.
The first display off the parking area was Ford tractors. Ford was the featured manufacturer for this year's show. A club had set up an extensive presentation with a diverse makeup of years and some unusual units. As an example, they had an early V8 powered tractor with a cab and streamlined styling, probably mid-'30s, and an experimental garden tractor about the size of an Allis Chalmers G. It had an opposed 2 cylinder air cooled engine and the frame through engine mount was all cast iron like the 2N, 8N, 9N. They had years and configurations well represented. There were about 100 Ford tractors in this grouping.
There didn't appear to be any other clubs with groupings but there were certainly a lot more tractors. From early traction engines to the mid 1960s there were dozens of makes and models. I am sure each of us would see at least one there we never heard of. There were a number of home built tractors there. I watched a man ride through one of the display areas on a small four wheel drive tractor and followed him to his display spot. The little tractor turned out to be a production unit a little smaller than a Cub with a 1300 cc VW engine, 3 -point hitch and with excellent engineering. It was made in Germany about 25 years ago.
Now for you folks who enjoy stationary engines you could spend all day just looking at these displays. Some small enough to hold in your palm and some that took a 35 foot lowboy to move. Most of them were running and they filled the shady woods with echoes of the past. Some of the big ones were still running when I pulled out at 2 a.m. Also displayed in this area of the grounds were scale models of old farm tractors. They were about the size you would like to have for your children or grandchildren. Close attention was paid to detail and the sheet metal was as accurate and neat as the mechanicals. It was a treat to watch one family play with a scale model John Deere. Grandfather, Dad and two little boys about four years old were all smiles as they made their way around the grounds. There were probably twenty or so riding models total. There were also a good number of pedal tractors in various displays. There were some intriguing and rare toys which we never get too old to play with.
Neat junk is last. There's a very large flea market area; a good guestimate is 200 vendors. The names seen in the magazines were there, like Miller Tires, Wilson Farms sheet metal, Lefever, carb and magneto repair specialists, etc. Then trailer loads of parts, machine tools, attachments, literature, belt buckles, everything you see at all the shows only in large variety and quantity.
Friends, I believe you will enjoy yourselves at this show, so make your plans now to spend a day or two out in Portland and don't put it off for four years like I did!
Best wishes for a good tractor time!