WHAT’S UP WITH THE TRACTORS?
Of all the events, Strauss says the tractor parade has become an iconic symbol of the Carnivale. “The tractor parade is an enormous draw,” says parade organizer and Chester native Jeff Foggitt. “People stand on the side of the road and watch this like any parade. There’s a huge turnout— four to six people deep.
“It began about 12 years ago with probably a dozen antique tractors. It was a huge hit,” he recalls. “We’ve had up to 100 tractors over the years and it became too much logistically, so we’re trying to limit it to 50 to 70— and only antique tractors; pre-1960.”
Most of the tractors come from Chester, Deep River, and Essex and belong to local farmers and others who collect antique tractors, he says. A local landscaper, Foggitt owns two antique tractors, and says the machines can range 100 years in age, and from 12- up to 100-horsepower. He stresses that all are fully functional.
“There was a boom in farming afterWorldWar II and Chester had been a big farming community. Many of these tractors were passed down through the generations,” he explains. “They were built to last forever.”
The tractors parade for about one mile, starting at Chester’s North Quarter Park and ending up at the OldMeeting House across town.
“It’s kind of funny. We never really communicate or talk about the parade,” Foggitt says. “People just show up, literally. Everyone knows it’s at 2 p.m. It’s very laid back.”
“People decorate their tractors. It’s like aMardi Gras parade