A Show in the Snow?

By Staff
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This photograph, taken in January 1989, shows then two-year-old Allison Sheardy of Hazleton, Pennsylvania sitting on a 1939 John Deere H tractor owned by her grandfather, Donald C. Upham of Northampton, Massachusetts.

P.O. Box 82 Armstrong, Illinois 61812

Ever get tired of the summer heat, dust, and wind at the antique
shows? Well, try having a show in the winter! For over 10 years
now, the members of the I & I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine
Club have been having winter shows in local shopping malls. These
exhibits are getting more popular every year, with people traveling
from over 100 miles away to see the exhibits as well as to
shop.

We originally started with one show in the Village Mall Shopping
Center in Danville, Illinois, and after several years expanded to a
second show in the Market Place Shopping Center in Champaign,
Illinois. Two exhibits allow us more exposure to the public, as
well as allowing members from different parts of the area to
participate without having to travel as far with their
equipment.

These exhibits are also an excellent way to promote summer
events, such as the Historic Farm Days show we are involved in at
the Middlefork River Forest Preserve near Penfield, Illinois July
14-15, 1990 featuring International Harvester and McCormick-Deering
products.

The centerpiece in our Market Place Show this year was the fine
half-scale equipment of Russell Helms of Newman, Illinois. His
Advance Rumely steam engine, Keck-Gonnerman thresher, and Ann Arbor
baler were set up in the Center Court area of the mall making a
nice threshing exhibit in a small area. We also had 47 tractors, 10
gas engines, one corn planter and an excellent display of antique
wrenches and tools.

We have had excellent response from the management and merchants
at both malls, and the management at Market Place told us that the
weekend of our exhibit has the second largest crowd of the year
(next to Christmas). It may seem like a lot of trouble to go out in
the cold and haul the equipment around, but the resulting exposure
and publicity far outweigh the difficulties.

In the past we have had all manner of equipment inside the
malls, ranging from plows, discs, etc. to full size tractors to Oil
Pulls. We have to restrict the size of equipment in one mall due to
the width of the entrance doors, but the other has entrance doors
large enough to admit even a large combine. The exhibit is enhanced
by playing videotapes of the equipment on display operating at the
show the previous summer, which always attracts a lot of attention,
and helps the non-farm visitors to better understand what the
various machines do.

These exhibits also give those members of the family less
interested in ‘old iron’ something to do when attending.
Our exhibits usually start by moving in after closing time on
Tuesday night, and end by moving out after closing time on Sunday
evening. This gives a fairly long time on display and always good
‘weather’ conditions inside. Special attention should be
given to avoiding fuel leaks, and protecting the floor surface from
oil, coolant, and grease leaks, and suitable protection to avoid
damage to the floors from tires or steel wheels. We have had a
number of steel wheeled tractors and implements inside over the
years, and have had no problems when taking adequate
precautions.

So if your group is looking for something to help keep up
interest in the winter months, it may be as close as the nearest
shopping center.

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Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines