Not unlike other years at the Salem County Fair, the machinery display was a big hit with the crowds of thousands that visited the fairgrounds last week. Both young and old took in the different styles, sizes and makes of equipment on display.
John Deere ag equipment had a big showing as two collectors brought some very rare pieces from their collection to this year’s fair.
Other makes of tractors at the fair included Minneapolis Moline, Ford, Oliver, Silver King, and McCormick.
“It’s just really a hobby for me,” said Don Marshall of Vineland about his collection of John Deere tractors. “I brought only half of what I actually own.”
Two of Marshall’s tractors from his extensive collection were a 1936 John Deere D and a 1949 John Deere A. Both were restored to their original condition with the familiar grass green and banana yellow paint shining in the sun.
Freeholder Julie Acton holds a special place in her heart for antique tractors. The displays at the fair brought back memories from when her children were young.
“We would come here and they would sit up on these tractors all day,” said Acton. “They loved it.”
Another tractor collector exhibiting at the fair was Deerfield resident Neil Lang who had two very unique displays. His 1937 and 1938 John Deere LS’s were put side by side with one in its original state and the other was fully restored. Often, the challenge can be finding a good John Deere parts store.
Lang also had on display the first tractor he ever brought which was a 1951 John Deere M. He bought it used in 1961 for $450.
“I still use that one today,” Lang said.
The 1956 John Deere 420 S on display was one Lang bought locally from Kathleen Camp in Elmer.
“This exact tractor was used at Palatine Park,” said Lang.
If there was a prize for bringing the most equipment it would have gone to Bridgeton resident Peter Shestakoff.
Among the numerous pieces brought by Shestakoff one of the big show stoppers was a 1913 International eight horsepower engine. The belt style engine was hooked up to a New Holland Rock Crusher.
He also had on display an old-time laundry machine run by crank and a number of old engines, one which was used on an oyster boat to pull in nets.
Logan Maurer, 3, of Deepwater took an interest especially in the antique corn plate mill and the bur mill grinder. Mauer used the crank on the plate mill to strip the corn and then the bur mill to grind it into cornmeal.
“Kids like these pieces of equipment because they are hands-on,” said Shestakoff. “But if they had to do this all day it would be another story.”
Shestakoff said he enjoys bringing his equipment to the fair because of its traditional agricultural roots. He also said the reason behind the large fair display is the joy he gets when children take an interest in the antique equipment.
“It’s not easy getting all this stuff down here. It takes me about two days to haul everything,” said Shestakoff. “But people love to see how things work and that’s why I bring as much as I do so people can come and visit.”