INDUSTRY — A 1949 Oliver 77 will be the featured tractor at the 19th annual Tractor Festival this weekend.

Sponsored by the Maine Antique Tractor Club, the festival begins at 8 a.m. Friday, June 27,  and continues through Sunday, June 29, at the Farmington Fairgrounds.

The featured tractor belongs to Dale Fairbanks of Industry, who owns three restored tractors.

But there’s another vehicle that’s “the love of my life … next to Judy,” he said as his wife, Judy, shakes her head.

He restored a 1929 Pontiac, taking it down to the base, Judy Fairbanks said. It took years, but he finally licensed it in 1987.

When their son, Michael of New Sharon, became interested in owning and restoring tractors, Fairbanks switched his interest from restoration of old cars to tractors.

“Who doesn’t like a tractor?” he asked.

The couple joined the tractor club in 2004. Dale is on the club’s board of directors and is the festival safety officer. The couple handle camping reservations for the annual festival and Judy works on the club’s newsletter.

The club draws about 500 members from across central Maine.

“It’s a good group of people who are a lot of fun and have a common interest: Old tractors,” he said. “Most want them to look like they did when they came off the assembly line.”

It’s an interest for a lot of people across the nation, he said. Parts for the 1960 and older tractors are being manufactured again just for restoration.

The Oliver 77 is part of a Fleetline Series manufactured from 1947 to 1950, Dale said. It was mainly used for agricultural work such as tilling soil, he said.  

He also owns a 1941 Oliver 60 and a 1950 Farmhall Cub, he said.

Along with showing the tractors, the couple uses one at the Bangor and the Common Ground fairs. They give fair-goers a tractor-drawn wagon ride from one side of the grounds to the other.

Club members have a wealth of knowledge about antique tractors to share with those attending the festival. There’s someone who can answer any tractor question, he said.

They also offer a tractor restoration seminar Friday and Saturday for those who are interested.

The festival committee works hard throughout the year but they do it for the love and fun of doing it, he said. They are really dedicated, he said.

This year’s progressive drag tractor pull for charity goes to the Maine Lung Association in memory of Dick Larrivee, Judy said. Larrivee was one of the festival organizers who died from lung disease, she said. There’s also a lot of children in Maine who suffer from lung disease.

The festival offers activities such as tractor pulls, games, displays and a parade. The New Relm Band will play from noon to 5 p.m. Saturday.

There’s a women’s skillet toss, scavenger hunt and doodle bug pull for the children, along with photography and pie-baking contests.

A pancake breakfast is served each day from 7 to 10 a.m. at the Sugar House. It is hosted by Maine Maple Producers.

Vendors and crafters, a flea market and food booths also are planned.

Admission is $5 for an adult.

Next year, the club hopes to hold the festival on land it purchased in Norridgewock, he said.

For more information, visit the club’s website, www.maineantiquetractorclub.com

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