Photos by Tom Tiller, Chea Waters Evans, Dale Hyerstay and Louisa Schibli
One of the great parts of autumn in Charlotte is being a part of the annual East Charlotte Tractor Parade. This year’s 19th annual event, which celebrates farming in our community, was another wonderful time for all.
It was a perfect fall day, and smiles went from ear to ear for folks of all ages and backgrounds. As the spectators gathered along Spear Street under brilliant sunshine, 125 tractors mustered at the Nichols family farm. All the drivers were treated to a great lunch put on by the Charlotte Grange. Participants got the chance to check out the older machines and learn about the TLC that went into getting them ready for the parade. There seemed to be an endless array of brands—John Deere, Massey Ferguson, McCormick, Ford, International Harvester and on and on.
As the clock struck 1:00 p.m., the engines rumbled to life, the smell of diesel filled the air, and the parade began. The machines ranged from large, modern working tractors to small riding lawn mowers and everything in between. Included in this year’s parade were a sprinkling of antique cars and even an old 1949 Jeep carrying a replica of General Douglas MacArthur, aka Lane Morrison!
We towed a trailer behind our 1953 Ford Golden Jubilee, and it was filled with kids of all ages, from my 80-year old dad to young kids. Stihl Kilborn, 5, had a blast! He said the best part was “waving to the people.” But he was disappointed that the parade was over way too quickly.
For the spectators, it was a great chance to enjoy a fall day, play some games, have some food and meet their friends and family. Everyone I saw was smiling, laughing and having a great time.
There are many people to thank for the parade: Carrie Spear, June Bean, the Nichols family, the Grange, the dozens of volunteers and the many participants. It takes a lot of work to put on this event, but it is just wonderful to see the entire community come together in a great setting.
Some people don’t watch the Super Bowl; they have no interest. And a few Charlotters don’t come to the Tractor Parade. If you are one of those people and didn’t make it this year, fear not. Next year will be even bigger! The 20th anniversary parade will undoubtedly be one for the record books. Come out, join in the fun, meet your neighbors, and see what a great community we have!