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First tractor rally comes to Southwick this month

Date: 4/3/2015

SOUTHWICK – Southwick’s agricultural past will be front and center this spring. The Southwick Agricultural Commission has announced that it will be hosting its inaugural Tractor Rally on April 25.

Jocelyn Linnekin, chair of the Southwick Agricultural Commission, said that the family-friendly event is designed to show off local tractors – new and old – and to remind the community of its history.

“Tractor rallies happen in other communities, too,” she said. “We thought this would be a good way to bring people together to celebrate agriculture.”

After the Agricultural Commission was reorganized in the fall, Linnekin said that it wanted to come into the spring with events that would bring the people of Southwick and surrounding communities together.  With the help of a grant from the Southwick Cultural Council, this became reality.

She said that her personal love for and fascination with farm tractors, something that she said is shared within the community, helped shape the event.

“I love antique equipment to look at. I’m not at all mechanically inclined, but I do love to look at bright, shiny old tractors,” Linnekin said.

While she and other people in the community may not know the ins and outs of tractors, Linnekin said that should not stop them from attending. It designed to be an event where farmers and families can come to learn about the trade.    

“We’re hoping that if farmers and tractor owners bring their machines, they’ll share mechanical tips,” she said. “We were trying to find ways to bring farmers and non-farmers together, but especially farmers, who tend to be working all day in their own businesses and not necessarily have occasions to get together and swap stories and tips with other farmers.”

The Agricultural Commission has been reaching out to members of the community to volunteer their time and tractors to the rally. Among new tractors, the commission is also looking for older equipment that can be displayed, including workhorse machines.

Though they are still looking for tractor owners, Linnekin said that those who restore old tractors or have new ones are typically excited to let people see their equipment.

“People who do have the show quality tractors that they’ve painstakingly restored want to have the opportunity to show them off,” Linnekin said. “The elbow grease that is needed, it’s a phenomenal amount of work to restore a tractor.”

In addition to celebrating the local tractors, the rally also honors “American inventiveness” and the durability of American iron, Linnekin said.

“These machines are in working order after 50, 60, even 70 years. They’re still out in the fields doing the work they’re built to do,” she said. “The American iron is so heavy, it’s so thick. American iron is so good that even when it’s covered in rust, these machines were built to last and to work.”

The Tractor Rally also features an exhibit on the Southwick agricultural history, including antique tools and a “mystery antique tool quiz.”

The event will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Westfield River Brewing Company. There will be food and the brewery will be open for customers.

For more information or to reserve a tractor parking space, email or call Linnekin at 569-9336.