52A South Main Street, New Milford, Connecticut 06776
A record-smashing year! At least for everyone involved with the Old Roxbury Days fair in Roxbury, Connecticut. The Roxbury Volunteer Fire Department hosted the 19th annual Old Roxbury Days fair with a record attendance for recent years, of over 7,000 people. Another record also, for the Roxbury Historical Society, as they had on display a total of 96 antique farm tractors.
One of the unique things about Old Roxbury Days is that when you look at all the old farm equipment and tractors, that's all you see. For you people who have never been to our show, we have a rule that states, 'No cars, trucks, campers or vendors in the display area.' The reason for this is that we feel the public who pay the price of admission to come in to see our fair want to see an old time fair, and not a bunch of late model pickup trucks with engines on the tailgate, or campers set up with engines out in front of them. We want them to feel that they have actually stepped back in time to an old time fair, something that their grandparents may have attended in years past.
Exhibitors from all around the state of Connecticut and neighboring states of New York, Massachusetts, and New Hampshire had items on display. These exhibits ranged in size from scale model engines to tractors. Some exhibitors had hands-on displays for the children to learn about the old time ways that their parents and grandparents may have used when they were growing up.
The Roxbury Historical Society had many of its pieces of equipment out on display and running. Gas engines provided power for the water pumps, corn shellers, grinders, cord wood saw, drag saw, and threshing machine. The tractors were called upon to belt up to the wood planer, shingle mill, ensilage cutter, and hay press.
The hay press that was on display is owned by Dudley Diebold of Roxbury. This piece of equipment is a real crowd pleaser-people gather around and watch with amazement as this machine presses the straw from the thresher into bales. Viewers are impressed with the timing that the operators have to have to run this machine, from forking in the straw, to dropping the spacer blocks, to inserting the wire and tying off the bales.
On Saturday afternoon, slow races were held for the tractors. One race had thirteen tractors in it. This had the camera freaks really clicking away. Some tractors just drove around to get some exercise and to have their picture taken.
Sunday saw an invasion of antique tractors, as over 30 tractors from out of town showed up for the big tractor parade that was going to be held in the afternoon. A total of 85 tractors were in the parade. Many were in better condition than when they left the factory, both mechanical and appearance wise. Yet, some tractors were there right off the farms with cow manure still on the tires. You would be surprised, but old tractors still in use on farms that come down to the parade, attract almost as much attention as the ones that are all restored.
There are two tractors that deserve a special mention, not because they look special, as both are in original condition, but because of their local history.
The first is a 1947 Oliver Super 77 owned by Lewis Hurlbut of Roxbury. Hurlbut is the original owner and still has this tractor in use on the family farm.
The other tractor is a 1948 Farmall MD that was originally owned by Sanford Smith of Roxbury, and is now owned by Russ Wheeler, also of Roxbury. This was the first diesel farm tractor to work on any farm in Roxbury.
With another safe and happy year behind us, the Roxbury Historical Society has high hopes for 1991. This year on July 27 and 28 we will be having our twentieth annual show. We hope everyone who has been to Old Roxbury Days in the past plans to attend, and we extend an open invitation to anyone who has heard about us but hasn't yet attended our show. We hope you can make it this summer.
Remember, this is just not a machinery show, it's an old time fair, with old-fashioned games such as a frog jumping contest, Jello eating, bubble gum blowing, and watermelon seed spitting contests too. We have a country store, draft horse wagon rides, a flea market, and an antique car and truck show.