Richard Kieffer and Son Dwayne Kieffer set up one of the many live demonstrations Aug. 17, 2012, in Farmer's Junction in Eagleville, Tenn. (Photos by Gregg Photography)
Rutherford County's smallest municipality will more than quadruple in population beginning Friday, Sept. 7, through Sunday, Sept. 9, as the 25th annual Tennessee Pioneer Power Days crank up.
"It's a great opportunity for parents and grandparents to bring children and let them glimpse a way of agriculture life that helped make our great nation what it is today," said Jesse Geasley, president of the Tennessee Valley Pioneer Power Association, which has membership throughout the Volunteer State.
"Our little rural town's population more than quadruples when those antique tractors and farm equipment begin arriving from throughout the Southeast," he said.
The vintage farm equipment extravaganza is a "powerful economic trigger," confirmed second-term Mayor Sam Tune, whose rural town on a normal weekday has "about 640 of the finest folks you'd ever care to meet…
"Tennessee Pioneer Power Days brings in a lot of revenue, good clean tourism dollars, that benefits our businesses and individuals," Tune said, as he sang the three-day show's praises. "Someone will always be buying or selling a tractor or two, plus our town's biggest employer, the Tennessee Farm Cooperative, always benefits from this big show that brings thousands to our little community. Farming has always been very important to Eagleville, with most families just one and two generations away from doing the back-breaking hard work that farmers of yesteryear had to do to feed their families."
The show, since inception on April 25, 1988, has blossomed into one of the biggest shows of its type in the South.
"We have exhibitors from all states surrounding Tennessee, and growing each year as the show's fame spread among folks with connections to farming, past and present," Geasley noted, as he stopped his vintage tractor beneath a shade tree to conduct a press conference. "I grew up here as a farm boy, mostly growing tobacco, so farming, like newspapering, when it gets in your blood, you can't lay it down."
Something new that's expected to draw even more visitors to Eagleville is the Saturday night concert by country music star Wade Hayes.
"We anticipate a dramatic increase in visitors when Hayes takes the stage at 8 p.m., when the $10 ticket price also includes admission to walk amongst the historic exhibits of antique hay bailers, single-piston engines and vintage tractors that still crank by hand," Geasley said.
Each day's ticket price for adults is $5, with children 12 and under admitted free.
"We want as many children to see the past here in modern-day America, of the power equipment that our parents, grandparents and great grandparents worked to produce crops," Geasley said.
Something "new, but old" is being added to this year's farm gala event, he added.
"It's our Women's Skillet Toss competition," Geasley shared.
"I bet it won't be the first skillet tossed in the history of Eagleville," said Smyrna resident John Stuart, an 80-year-old former farm boy native of Philadelphia, Miss. "I never miss the big tractor historical event in Eagleville."
Most races are speed, speed and more speed.
Not this show.
"In addition to getting to view hay bailers and thrashers, Sunday's Tractor Slow Rac' features the vintage tractors that are slowest to cross the finish line," Geasley said. "We also have a big Antique Tractor Pull, as entrants compete in different power and weight classes."
Children are not left out of the competition.
"Grandparents and parents get charged up for our Pedal Tractor Race and Pull, when children hook their little pedal tractors to a miniature sled," Geasley added. "Or the kids compete just to see who can be first to cross that finish line."
Traditionally, the show attracts between 3,500 to 4,500 adults, not counting children who are admitted free for the three-day antique farm equipment jubilee.
For more information, contact Geasley at 615-542-5656 or e-mail him at email@example.com.