The Bigger Picture
They Had Their Cake and Ate It at Antique Power Shindig

They Had Their Cake and Ate It at Antique Power Shindig

Antique tractor collectors gobbled up the specially decorated cakes before anyone saw them.


Many readers are familiar with the Classic Farm Tractors Calendar but may not realize the popular calendar, which features restored antique tractors from across the country, has reached a milestone.

John Harvey created the calendar for DuPont in 1990 to promote the new Classic herbicide. He continued to produce the calendar after he left DuPont. In July Harvey celebrated the 25th anniversary of the calendar.

Eaten but not seen: Someone went to a lot of work to list in frosting 80 different brands of tractors (many long gone) that have appeared on the Classic Farm Tractors calendar in its first 25 years on this cake.

The observance was held during the Historic Farm Days Show, an event held annually at Penfield, Illinois, and is one of the premiere antique power events in the Midwest. With over 100 acres of land, they have plenty of room to display, harvest, plow, saw logs, and other attractions. Over 500 members enjoy reliving the good old days and showing off their vintage tractors, gas engines, equipment, and well, if it's old and makes noise, smoke and dust, then they have it around somewhere.

A banquet was held in honor of Harvey and the 25th anniversary of the calendar. It was sponsored by I & I Antique Tractor and Machinery Club. But, as Harvey told me recently, it was one of those "you've got to be kidding" events that happen in the heat of the battle and there's no way to rectify it.

"Three beautifully-decorated cakes arrived minutes before 150 hungry people entered the banquet room," explains Harvey. "The attendees picked up their own plates loaded with food prepared by Rube and his Hog Haven staff, then proceeded to the tables for a delicious meal, and great conversation with other antique tractor enthusiasts. Their dessert consisted of yummy chunks of cake. Unfortunately, there was no time to display the ornately-decorated cakes in the rush to serve supper."

John Harvey, a long time promoter of power from the past, created the famous Classic Farm Tractors Calendar.

One cake with red icing was lettered in white stating: "John Harvey Hootenanny, 2014 Historic Farm Days, Penfield, Illinois," with the Classic Tractor Fever emblem – the business Harvey established for those who collect, restore and preserve antique tractors.

"The best of the bunch was a red/white/blue flag cake with the names of 80 different brands of tractors (many long gone) that have appeared on the Classic Farm Tractors calendar in its first 25 years. From Allis Chalmers, Aultman-Taylor and Avery, to Waterloo Boy, Wallis and Wisconsin, common and seldom-seen tractors have graced the calendar," says Harvey.

The 2014 Historic Farm Days' featured tractors were Ford, Versatile and New Holland. Some six dozen tractors that had appeared on the calendar from a dozen different states, including three classics from Maryland, surrounded the Classic Tractor Fever tent.

Not all was lost, however. Harvey found someone had taken video of the cakes and he was able to get photos of the cakes from the video.

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