WHAT’S UP WITH THE TRAC­TORS?

The Day - Sound & Country - - FRONT PAGE -

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

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