Hundreds of collectors are expected to attend the Michigan Flywheelers Museum’s Antique Engine and Tractor Show for the first time since 2019.
This year marks the 38th anniversary of the traditional four-day show which was put on hiatus in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.
The museum, however, was able to put together a scaled-down, one-day drive-thru show last year in the spring after the health threats associated with the pandemic eased somewhat.
“We got the OK to hold the show in May,” Patrick Ingalls, museum president, said. “Even then there were restrictions such as how many people we could allow in buildings.”
Despite the uncertainties surrounding just when health restrictions would allow for a full-scale show, the museum board went ahead with planning it for the traditional September start. This year’s show will be from Sept. 8-12 at the museum grounds, 06285 68th St., South Haven.
Usually, it is a year long process to prepare for a event of this size, said Ingalls.
“Since May, it’s just been crazy busy trying to get everything done,” he said.
One of the largest of shows of its kind in the state, collectors at the tractor show display a wide assortment of old farm machinery, from huge steam traction engines to vintage tractors.
There’s plenty to see besides old machines, including daily tractor parades, a large outdoor flea market, working displays at the sawmill, shingle mill and blacksmith shop, musical entertainment, and one of the favorite activities – selling ears of buttery sweet corn cooked in an old boiler.
“We do get a lot of people that tell us one of the main reasons they look forward to the show every year is for the steamed sweet corn,” Ingalls said.
Other activities include antique and garden tractor pulls, the Thing-A-Ma-Jig parade and the consignment auction.
“We have a full schedule of activities,” Ingalls said. “We pride ourselves on making this a family-friendly event with plenty of things to do for the kids.”
Saturday, Sept. 11, is considered “Kid’s Day” at the show. Activities start with a Kiddies Pedal Pull at noon, a sawdust pile treasure hunt at 3:30 p.m. and the John Dudley Magic Show at 7 p.m. Tractor games will be held for those children who have access to riding lawn tractors.
Throughout the day on Saturday, members of the Crank Organ Organization will be performing as well.
Evening musical entertainment include performers Black River Band on Friday, Sept. 10 and Full Cord Bluegrass Band on Saturday, Sept. 11.
One of the popular activities for young and old is the “South Haven Tractor Cruise.” Scheduled for 4 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 8, participants drive tractors of all makes and models into downtown South Haven, cruise South Beach, and then stop for dinner.
Gates for the tractor show open at 8 a.m. rain or shine. Admission is $10. Children 12 and under are free with a paid adult admission. Thursday is Senior’s Day and admission is $5 for those 62 and over. New this year is the Sunday Special with admission $5 for everyone. This is a pet-free event for those paying admission.