“Good old days” celebrated during farm show

Published 1:28 am Sunday, May 15, 2011

British visitors Paul and Dolores Whitton are flanked by Stan Hudson of Chocowinity (left) and Jesse Tripp of Blounts Creek during this weekend's farm show in Chocowinity. Hudson and Tripp are members of the Eastern Antique Power Association, which sponsors the annual event. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

Ian Bradbury, almost 4, of Chocowinity enjoys pumping water the old-fashioned way during Saturday's Antique Tractor Show hosted by the Eastern Antique Power Association. Ian is the son of Will and Donna Bradbury. (WDN Photo/Kevin Scott Cutler)

CHOCOWINITY —  The “good old days” of farming were celebrated Saturday during the 15th-annual Antique Tractor Show hosted by the Eastern Antique Power Association.

The country fair event drew visitors from throughout eastern North Carolina, but one couple in particular literally went the distance to attend the show.
“I think we definitely take the prize for the people who have come the farthest,” said Dolores Whitton, who was accompanied by her husband, Paul. The couple lives in Chester, in the northwest section of England.
“Two years ago we were visiting our son, who was then living in Greenville, and we were driving through here and saw the sign about the show,” Whitton recalled. “Then we saw Jesse Tripp with his tractor and we followed him.”
Time was short during that visit and the Whittons didn’t get to spend much time at the show. But they vowed to return.
“We’re into tractors and steam engines and all that sort of thing,” Whitton explained. “We missed it last year, but two weeks ago we flew over to visit our son and his family, who now live in Pennsylvania. We planned this trip so we would be here in May for the farm show, and we drove down here on Friday.”
In support of the show’s fundraising auction, Whitton brought along a stash of souvenirs from the recent royal wedding in England, when Prince William married Kate Middleton. Included were a ceramic plate, mug and a trinket dish.
Among those joining the Whittons for the festivities was young Ian Bradbury, an almost 4-year-old resident of Chocowinity. Ian found relief from the day’s heat and humidity by playing in the pump station, drawing water as farm families did generations ago.
Association members began laying the groundwork for the farm show several months ago.
“We generally start planning in January,” said association president Matt Sopher. “You wouldn’t think something like this would take that much time, but it does when you are doing a public event.”
Along with the exhibits of antique tractors and other farm machinery, those attending the show were treated to live music by Unshackled. The day began with a flag raising ceremony led by Boy Scout Troop 258, and other activities included a parade of power, children’s pedal tractor races and auctions. No one went hungry with hot dogs, pizza, homemade ice cream and flavored shaved ice available for purchase from vendors.
While this weekend’s show, which is always offered free to the public, is a highlight for the association, members remain busy with other projects throughout the year, according to Sopher.
“Some of the members will be in the Fossil Festival parade in Aurora later this month, and Cypress Landing has a Memorial Day parade,” he said. “We’ll do the July 4 parade in Belhaven and area Christmas parades, and some members do shows throughout the summer all over the state.”
For information about joining the Eastern Antique Power Association, call 252-944-3551 or 252-975-2207.