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Plenty of Fords at Penfield show

Ford tractors on display over the weekend at Historic Farm Days / CIFN photo.

PENFIELD – Tractor pulls and daily parades were just some of the highlights of this year’s Historic Farm Days event at Penfield in east central Illinois.

The weekend trip down ag’s memory lane featured the Ford, New Holland, Versatile and David Bradley brands. John Bensyl of Penfield is director of the National Ford Fordson Collectors Association and had equipment on display at the show.

“I’ve got a half dozen different tractors,” Bensyl told The Central Illinois Farm Network. “I have a Fordson and wartime 2N on steel wheels.”

Bensyl, who also helps with the Historic Farm Days show, has been around the brand for much of his life as he worked for the local dealership in Urbana for 32 years. His association remains active with around 800 members and some overseas.

“We have annual meets all over the country from the east coast out to Missouri.”

When Fordson tractors were first released, the cost was actually based on the price of a team of horses and 10 acres of ground for hay. According to Bensyl, the tractors were under $500 at first. The length of the Fordson was designed so eight could fit in a boxcar to be transported.

Volunteer Chris Karr said there was no shortage of events during the 2022 Historic Farm Days.

“We’ve got a lot of activities going on – we are going to plow and cut wheat,” he explained.

There were plenty of non-featured tractors on display and new activities for everyone in the family to check out such as a kiddie train offering rides for children. A Cub Cadet lawn tractor served as the locomotive’s body which was donated by an I&I Club member. Thanks to work on the steel frame which made it appear to be an old steam boiler, the train was pretty authentic.

“There are pieces of equipment that you see in a book but you can come here and see the real thing,” added Karr.

Around 100 vendors sold items such as tractor parts, crafts and farm toys throughout the show grounds. Food options ranged from homestyle breakfasts to homemade ice cream from the Moo Mobile along with pie, pulled pork sandwiches and deep fried food choices.

The I&I Antique Tractor and Gas Engine Club, which puts on the Historic Farm Days show each year, got its start near Alvin, Illinois next to the Indiana and Illinois state line. The group has moved around since its start in 1976 but eventually settled at Penfield.


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