By EVELYN LONG
The 2014 Farm Days to be held August 1-3 at the Morrow County Fairgrounds marks the 25th anniversary of the event which is sponsored and organized by the Morrow County Antique Tractor and Equipment Association.
It was 1989 when Morrow County residents responded to an invitation from the Morrow County Agricultural Society to display their antique tractors at the county fair that year. Following the parade a group of men and women met at the log cabin to further discuss interest in organizing a club. Following a few more social gatherings with further discussion, the decision was made to vote for officers who were Dave Cover, president; Carlos Mitchell, vice president and Kim Mitchell, secretary and treasurer.
The club’s name was selected in 1990 and a committee was appointed to draft by-laws and regulations. People were invited to join through a telephone chain. The first and second Farm Days were held on the McDonald’s, Big Wheel and Kroger parking lot in Mount Gilead.
Since 1992 it has been held at the Morrow County Fairgrounds. The MCATEA has expanded its activities to year-round, including participation in many community events and activities such as the Morrow County Fair, the Marion Popcorn Festival, Chesterville Heritage Days, Cardington and Fulton Memorial Days, Ostrander Fourth of July and Mount Gilead’s Memorial Day and many other events.
The association also holds a Plow day each spring and since 2004 has conducted an annual Tractor Drive. Members meet the first Sunday of each month and gather at the State Park for a picnic the first Sunday in June.
They also sponsor a shuttle wagon at the Farm Days and the Morrow County Fair that was designed and built under the direction of Dick Poland. The association supports many community charities and non-profit organizations and in 2013 funded a new Pavilion constructed behind the small stage on the Morrow County Fairgrounds.
The MCATEA raises its funds through bake sales, raffles, pie and quilt auctions, sale of association shirts, hats and jackets, calendars, the Farm Collector Show directory and annual dues.
Five charter members remain active with the association. They are Doug Grimm, Dick Poland, Gary Fraizer, and Jerry and Faith Jagger.
Current officers are Dwight Murphy, president; Larry Welch, vice president; Dawn Fraizer, secretary; Gary Fraizer, treasurer; Valerie Fraizer, reporter and Jim Carroll, chaplain.
Trustees are John Axthelm, Jonda Axthelm, Terry Fraizer; Deb Osborne, Mike Squibb and Thom Kipfinger. Trustees whose terms expire this year are Jerry Jagger, Dick Poland, John Powell, Aaron Smith and Stefanie Smith.
The Association’s purpose - to keep farming and its traditions alive for current and future generations, is best summed up by this Farmer’s Creed: “I believe a man’s greatest possession is his dignity and no calling bestows this more abundantly than farming. I believe true happiness comes from watching your crops ripen in the field, your children grow tall in the sun.”