Verstraten farm to host antique machinery fair

Eric Sparling
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Event gets bigger every year

The Northshore Antique Tractor and Engine Club is hosting its annual show and heritage day at the Verstraten farm in Lorneville on Saturday. The show has become an annual tradition on the Verstraten farm showcasing how chores were done by previous generations.

LORNEVILLE – It’s part museum, part living culture.

“It’s a little bit of both,” said Pauline Verstraten.

The Lorneville farm she owns with her husband, Francis, is the site of the Northshore Antique Tractor and Engine Club’s 2013 Annual Show and Heritage Day this Saturday.

“There’s something for everybody (in the family),” said Verstraten.

The free event kicks off at 10 a.m. and runs until 4 p.m. Antique machinery and tools will be on display. Wagon rides and a woodlot tour are also planned, and there will be a woodsman competition demonstration and a blacksmith.

“This is our 14th,” she said, “every year a little bit bigger…”

Sunrise 4-H will be running a canteen, with proceeds going to the youth club, and Lorneville United Church will be selling homemade pies to benefit the church. (Food is not free.)

Verstraten said they had more than 500 people last year.

“It’s really good for the kids,” she said.

An interest in antique agricultural equipment was triggered by her husband’s recognition of the disappearance of area farms and the subsequent loss or destruction of old equipment. Verstraten said they collect the kind of equipment “your granddad” used to farm with.

“It changes every year,” she said, when asked which piece was the current favourite.

They have a steam engine but not boiler.  One of their prized pieces is a Fordson tractors from the 1920s.

Craft vendors and locally-grown vegetable producers (and other foodstuffs) are invited to the event, and can set up a table at no cost. She hopes some crafters might do demonstrations at their tables.

A donation box on the premises will be used to offset the cost of port-a-potties.

Verstraten said they get help hosting from the tractor club, as well as neighbours and family. Having the event offers its own reward.

“We get to see all the people,” she said.

Antique engines and tools are part of the ‘museum’. But the living culture is reflected in local producers of foods and crafts, as well as the opportunity – on the wagon ride – to see a field they own that’s planted and used by Wysmykal Farm, a CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) enterprise producing organic vegetables on the Northumberland Strait.

“It’s celebrating our heritage,” she said of the event.

But she expressed her hope that a less intensive, small-farm approach to production comes back around in popularity.



SIDEBAR: The Northport Loopers will be holding their annual rug-hooking show and sale at Lorneville United Church on Saturday, just down the road from Verstraten Farm. It runs 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.

Organizations: Lorneville United Church, Northshore Antique Tractor and Engine Club, CSA

Geographic location: LORNEVILLE

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