By Cathy Taylor
Located on highway M-61, just 4 ½ miles west of Harrison, the 20 Lakes Antique Tractor Show officially kicks off Thursday, June 20, and continues until Saturday evening, June 22, 2013.
One of the oldest and largest antique tractor shows in Northern Michigan, the 20 Lakes show has been serving up wholesome, family-oriented entertainment for young and old alike for the past 29 years.
Hundreds of antique farm tractors that have been meticulously restored to their original majesty have graced the 40-acre show grounds over the past three decades. Farmers, collectors and just plain old tractor enthusiasts from all across the state of Michigan make the annual drive to Harrison for the opportunity to showcase their restorations in the daily tractor parade. This year’s feature brand will be Allis Chalmers.
But antique tractors are not the only draw for the thousands of spectators that pass through the gates every year. Just as you enter the show grounds you will notice one of Michigan’s oldest sawmills, a relic from the late 1800’s, still in working condition. As you progress around the corner to Main Street, you will find a variety of antique operations, from a genuine blacksmithing shop and forge facility to a shingle milling and branding operation. Guests are invited to bring something to bend, twist, straighten or just plain have fun with at the blacksmith shop. And don’t forget to pick up your official 20 Lakes wooden shingle custom-made just for you.
One of the main points of interest at the 20 Lakes Antique Engine and Tractor Show are the flea market vendors that fill several acres on the west side of the club ground property. Vendors from across the state call months in advance to secure their spot at the 20 Lakes show and sell everything imaginable.
Crafters from around the county participate in the show each year, demonstrating everything from cornshelling to gristmilling, wool spinning, quilting and much more.
Children will find a variety of activities that will keep them entertained throughout the day as well. The 4-H Petting Zoo, the sawdust coin scramble, lots of kids games and crafts as well as the 20 Lakes Kiddie Train rides will keep them coming back for more. One of the biggest attractions for the youngsters is the Kiddie Pedal Tractor Pull at 3PM on Saturday. Kids compete within their own age groups to see who can peddle the farthest.
Another highlight of the 20 Lakes celebration that you won’t want to pass up is the 20 Lakes Dairy Barn, where sweet and creamy delicious homemade ice cream is made fresh for you while you wait. Eat it plain or top it off with strawberry or fudge syrup.
Unique to the 20 Lakes Antique Engine and Tractor Show is Mel’s Diner, the club’s on-site restaurant where you can pull up a chair, relax and enjoy a hearty meal, a burger, or just a piece of homemade pie and coffee. Almost everything at Mel’s is made the old-fashioned way from scratch, from their hearty breakfast fare to their old-fashioned bean soup, desserts and daily lunch and dinner specials. This year’s specials will include a Baked Goulash and Cheddar Garlic Biscuit dinner on Thursday, a Cold Plate special with BBQ chicken, potato salad and baked beans on Friday, and a Roast Pork with dressing and potato dinner on Saturday…..all for only $5.00 a plate.
Activities begin daily at 9:00 AM with the official flag raising ceremony and opening prayer. However, if you’re an early riser, Mel’s Diner opens for breakfast each morning at 7 AM. Cathy is usually in the kitchen by 5 AM baking and cooking the day’s goodies, so come on in. She’s always got the coffee pot on!
Admission for the show is $3.00 per person per day at the gate, or you can purchase a weekend pass for $7.00. Children 12 years and younger are admitted free. There is ample parking space on the east side of the show grounds with shuttle service running intermittently. Handicapped parking is available.
If you are interested in camping on the club grounds during this year’s event, call 989-386-4039 to reserve a spot. Non-members and non-exhibitors pay $25.00 for the entire weekend.
If you are interested in reserving a flea market space, call 989-386-4039. All 20’X30’ spaces are $25.00 each and includes camping, with no electrical hook up.