Labor Day: Follow Topa Topa Flywheelers to the Vintage Tractor Fair!
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: August 28, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
Through its rich farmland Ventura County helps feed the world, and saluting a traditional helpmate of farmers will help feed the family’s need for entertainment with a special Labor Day Vintage Tractor Fair! The special one-day event will be held at the Ventura County Agriculture Museum, located at 926 Railroad Ave., immediately following the Santa Paula Labor Day Parade.
Following the 10 a.m. Main Street parade you’ll be able to follow some of the dozens of classic farm tractors from decades past that will be displayed by their proud owners in the lot adjacent to the museum. Kids will be able to enjoy the Kids Fun Zone at the event, to be held from 10:30 a.m. to 3 p.m.
Live music by the famed Cruise Knights, food trucks and tractor-themed kids’ activities will add to the fun at the museum, the building famed throughout Southern California as The Mill. Admission to the Labor Day Vintage Tractor Fair and to the Agriculture Museum is free during the event, and admission to the Kids’ Outdoor Fun Zone is only $5 each.
Kevin Genovese, director of operations for the Ventura County Agriculture Museum, said the Vintage Tractor Fair, sponsored by Limoneira Company, will give visitors a “chance to get up close and personal with the people who operate the rare tractors” and talk to the tractors’ owners, all members of the Topa Topa Flywheelers. The Topa Topa Flywheelers are a popular attraction and a constant in Santa Paula parades.
Genovese said the event will not only combat the effects urbanization has had on the general public’s awareness of county farming by allowing interaction with farmers, but will also “offer a chance to reconnect with the past” through vintage machinery now considered collector items. “It’s the same thing for people who collect old Model A Fords, the same for tractor collectors,” celebrating the early models of what is still used today mixing nostalgia with technology and, in the case of agriculture, a lifestyle that continues.
Genovese noted the members of the Topa Topa Flywheelers are “excited” about being able to not only display their restored tractors - called Flywheelers because of the primitive engines - but also because they’ll be able to meet with visitors and answer questions. Genovese is also hoping to also have Caterpillars on display, although “You don’t see those too often rolling around the streets” because of their military tank type treads that are unfriendly to asphalt.
He is hoping there will be up to 40 vintage tractors on display at the Vintage Tractor Fair, a free event that includes museum entrance. “The only charge is for the food trucks, snacks, and the Beer Garden inside the museum,” you can enjoy them in an air-conditioned seating area, “and the Kids’ Fun Zone.”
With the purchase of a $5 wristband, visitors can enter the Kids’ Fun Zone, in a secured area adjacent to the tractors and can come and go as they wish. Inside, children can compete in or watch pedal tractor races, or bounce in a supervised, super-sized Jolly Jump.
Both kids and adults can have their faces painted by professional artists. They can also ask for a balloon character or creation of their choice, and watch as Catherine Olsen, a professional balloon artist with a degree in Fine Art, makes it for them out of earth-friendly 98.5% biodegradable latex balloons.
Inside the museum, kids can climb on a real Oliver tractor or a real horse-drawn buggy; visit the museum’s transparent, real beehive; or create crafts with the museum’s Education Coordinator. The Cruise Knights will be playing on the back porch above the tractor display and Kids Fun Zone, and Genovese said on the front porch “We’ll even have a booth where music will be playing on a vintage, hand-cranked record player.”
Visitors will be able to shop at The Best of VC Marketplace: “Oh, there’s going to be plenty going on here at the museum on Labor Day!” said Genovese. For more information call the museum, 805-525-3100, or visit the webpage, www.venturamuseum.org.
Agriculture Museum hours are Wednesday through Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $4 for adults, $3 for seniors, $1 for children 6-17, and under 6 and members are free. The museum offers FREE general admission on First Sundays of the Month!