Wayne County Agricultural Society


| May/June 1984



Wayne County Agricultural Society

A partial overview of the Wayne County Agricultural Society's exhibit at Canal Days in Cambridge City, Indiana. Carhlie Hall's 1935 John Deere B is on prominent display. The rack at left with an exhibit of old hand tools and farm artifacts was a highlight

200 South Spruce Street Centerville, Indiana 47330

Several of us old engine nuts here in Wayne County, Indiana felt a need for a local engine show which would give us a chance to exhibit our equipment without having to travel a long distance. We decided to approach the county fair board responsible for the week-long 4H fair at the Wayne County Fairgrounds. This organization moves slowly. We made our first contact in October of 1982 through the county extension office. In January we were invited to meet with the board at its regular meeting. Eddie Hall and I met with the board and brought pictures of various pieces of old equipment to illustrate what we proposed to show. We met with a good reception. During this brief meeting we offered to furnish the equipment and operators, all transportation and fuel in exchange for publicity and a tent to cover the exhibit area. We felt the fair would realize improved attendance from such an exhibit. The board took our proposition under advisement and didn't give us an O.K. until May 1983.

We spent several months working on engines and other machines. We wanted to display equipment in actual operation, not sitting silent. We wanted the engines to drive typical machines doing the actual work they had done years ago. We supplied the fair board with black and white pictures of equipment for use in publicity for the engine show, but we found publicity was sorely lacking. Our pictures were run in the local weekly paper but not in the daily. No mention was made of the exhibit in the fair program or in any newspaper announcements of the fair.

Nevertheless, we went ahead full steam. Our exhibit included 4 old tractors, about 18 gas engines, water pumps, silage choppers, a burr mill, corn shellers, an Ottawa drag saw and various pieces of hand - operated equipment including an ear corn chopper, hand shellers, hand pumps and so on. We filled our tent the area surrounding it.

Those participating in this first show were Charlie and Eddie Hall of Milton, Indiana, Greg Jones and Tom Kelsey of Cambridge City, Charles and Michael Bond and Herman Cull of Richmond and Jim Jones and sons James and Tim of Centerville. Our exhibit ran for 7 days and a rough count indicates we may have been responsible for drawing some 2,000 people to our show. We hauled equipment in on Friday, July 29 and were in operation that evening. We ran all day Saturday, Sunday evening and then evenings only the following week. We started moving out on the following Friday evening and finished Saturday morning.

We learned the fair board was elated over the exhibit. Local implement dealers located nearby had few interested observers they were all at the engine show. The lack of publicity didn't help, but word of mouth was responsible for drawing the crowds. A large number wanted to see the Halls' Ottawa drag saw and it performed flawlessly.