The love of antique tractors and farming spanned four generations for one family in attendance at the spring Nittany Antique Machinery Show at Penn’s Cave over the weekend.
From Millie Hoffman, 83, to Clara Franklin, 1, the family continued its tradition of attending the spring and fall shows since they began in 1975 to honor family farming by driving and showing their vintage tractors, and to enjoy the various activities.
“My grandmother, my parents, my two aunts, my two brothers, me and my husband, and our three kids are here,” said Charity Franklin, of Carlisle. “That’s four generations. And one of my brothers has my great-grandfather’s Cletrac tractor here, so that makes the fifth generation.”
Driving the 1944 Cletrac, a tractor with tracks that look like the treads of a tank instead of tires, was Chris Bream.
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“They were used for farming on the side of a hill,” Bream said. “My great-grandfather had a farm in Perry County, and he had some hills, so that’s why he had it.”
Bream said he has been coming to the show since he was a boy.
“We’re farmers,” he said. “We all came from a farming background. To me, it is pretty important to keep the family tradition alive. I have five tractors. Those are all family tractors.”
Every year, Franklin’s extended family goes to several antique machinery shows. But the Nittany shows are favorite events, she said.
Franklin’s husband, Edward, said it’s their favorite “because of the flea markets, food and tractors.”
“It’s a perfect setup,” Charity Franklin added. “The guys like the tractors and the auction. The ladies can go to the flea market. The kids love the cart rides and being in the tractor parades.”
The couple’s three daughters, Ella, 6, Lily, 3, and Clara, also enjoy seeing the large number of antique machines, Edward Franklin said, adding that the show is the largest they go to.
“For the spring show, which is about a quarter of the size of the fall show, we had 235 tractors this year,” said Robert Corman, secretary of the Nittany Antique Machinery Association Inc., which hosts the shows.
The fall show has 800 to 900 tractors, but the spring event, which is free for association members from all over the country, is still quite popular, Corman said.
It includes tractor parades, antique cars, children’s pedal tractor pulls, merchandise and food vendors, and other activities. The show also offers crowd favorite exhibits such as chainsaw carving.
Surrounded by carved wolves, bears, owls and other wildlife, chainsaw artists Jeff Donoughe, of Lamar, and Joe Luckenbill, of Bernville, attracted a crowd of onlookers who watched as the pair worked on their creations.
“We do custom stuff,” Donoughe said. “We are always looking for wood. If someone has a tree down that they don’t want, we will usually take it and make something out of it.”
Donoughe, who was at the show for the second year, said business was good and that he plans to be back in the fall.
The fall show, planned for Sept. 4-8, will have expanded activities and more participants, he said.