Revisit ‘good old days’

Published 2:56 pm Thursday, May 6, 2010

Lifestyles & Features Editor

CHOCOWINITY — The “good old days” will be revisited this weekend during the annual Antique Tractor Show, presented by the Eastern Antique Power Association.
Festivities begin Saturday morning and run through Sunday afternoon, according to Stan Hudson, who hosts the event at his showgrounds on Bear Creek Road west of Chocowinity. Admission is free, and the public is welcome.
“This started in 1996, and that first year we had six tractors,” Hudson recalled. “Last year, we had better than 60 tractors.”
But it’s not just about tractors. The event gives the younger generations a glimpse into rural lifestyles long before electricity and indoor plumbing became commonplace in eastern North Carolina. Farm implements and household items will be displayed, and there’s even a pumping station for drawing water the old-fashioned way.
The show begins at 10 a.m. Saturday with a flag-raising ceremony led by Boy Scout Troop 258 of Bath. What follows will be a day-long celebration that is scheduled to include pedal-tractor races for children, pedal-tractor pull, parade of power, slowest-tractor pull, craft sale, auctions and displays of antique tractors, engines, cars and trucks. Also planned are barrel train rides for youngsters.
The group Unshackled will provide live bluegrass and gospel entertainment, as well. Festivities resume at 1 p.m. Sunday, according to Hudson.
The club was formed, in part, so coming generations of young people can learn more about the past.
“We wanted to pass on our heritage to show the younger generation how we used to do it,” Hudson said, referring to Beaufort County’s farming industry.
For Hudson, a highlight of this year’s event will be the “unveiling” of the 1905 Cadillac Model E he’s spent nearly three years refurbishing.
“It’s one of five known in the United States,” Hudson said of the automobile. “When I got it, it was in semi-restored condition. A 75-year-old gentleman had restored it to the best of his abilities.”
Hudson disassembled the car, and, after frequent trips to the American Automobile Club of America Museum in Hershey, Pa., he began purchasing replacement parts. He built the parts he couldn’t locate, including fenders and wheels.
“The folks at the museum let me look at, measure and draw parts, but I had to wear white gloves when I was touching the cars,” Hudson said. “And I took over 400 photographs.”
As of Monday, the automobile was almost completely restored. Hudson said the only thing he was waiting for was the upholsterer to come and cover the seats.
While the Cadillac will be displayed, Hudson isn’t sure how much he’ll run it this weekend.
“It’s a total-waste oil system, so clean-up is time consuming. Oil goes all over everything,” he said. “It’s an environmental nightmare.”
Members of the Eastern Antique Power Association meet the second Tuesday of every month. New members are welcome. For more information, contact Hudson at 252-975-2207 or Matt Sopher, club president, at 252-944-3551.