NCTM offers special event to remember a simpler time

The N.C. Transportation Museum offers a new event with classic elements of old time festivals that capture the spirit of the fall season.  The N.C. Transportation Museum's 2014 Harvest Festival will harken back to a simpler time of family fun, with hay bales, a pumpkin patch, a tractor parade, old time games, corn-shelling, blacksmith demonstrations, and museum exhibits presented for the first time.

The event is 9 a.m. to 5 p.m., Saturday October 25th, with most activities happening throughout the day.  Upon arrival, passengers will be delivered to the south field by train.  Dropped off in the event area, parents and kids will enjoy a host of activities, demonstrations, and exhibits. 

Old time games and crafts will include horse shoes, hoop and stick, corn shelling, making corn husk dolls and old timey clay marbles. Kids can also play in the mini hay bale maze, or shell their own ear of corn for $.50/ear.

Photo areas will be perfect for the family, with the Model T Depot Hack available in a fall scene.  Take your own picture for posting online or just for the memories.

Blacksmith demonstrations will be presented by Gordon Cable. With a hammer and anvil, he will entertain, while creating works of art. 

In the midst of all of this, the pumpkin patch will be available for families to find a purchase their own pumpkin for just $5. Food will also be available, including Apple Cider, snack foods, popcorn and drinks.

            The appearance of the McCormick Deering Farmall Tractor will be a particular highlight, as the 1937 tractor model, recently donated to the museum, will be presented for the first time.  This classic piece of farming equipment heralded a time when the nation's farms were becoming mechanized and tractors were, for the first time, replacing horses in the fields. 

            This F12 engine model, the last year it was made, features high metal wheels for plowing, the classic Farmall red, and provides a look at a pivotal time in the nation's farming infrastructure.

            The McCormick Deering Farmall Tractor will be presented at 1:30 p.m., along with a tractor parade given by members of the International Harvester Collectors NC tractor club.  The parade will stretch from the south end event area, all the way to the Barber Junction Depot and back. Plus, the public is invited to join in the tractor parade.  The museum is offering free admission if you bring your tractor!

An additional treat will be offered.  For the first time ever, the Melville Reiss shows circus wagon will be seen and presented to the public with special tours to view the wagon in the museum's massive Back Shop.

The wagon was a long time piece of the museum's collection, but was covered beneath galvanized sheet metal, stored in the Car Repair Shed.  As it turns out, with the sheeting removed for the first time in late 2012, the classic circus promotional title and colorful design remained, providing a look back in time that stretches more than 80 years.

Research has discovered that the wagon was sold by the Melville Reiss Circus in 1931. With the Great Depression setting in and owner Henry Melville falling ill, the Melville Reiss shows, like so many others, had been struggling financially.  The circus was slowly sold off piece by piece. 

But before that sale, however, the wagon was filled with circus items, pushed aboard a flat-bed train car and moved to the next city for the next show.  A photograph even remains of the Melville Reiss midway, taken in 1930 in Wheeling West Virginia, featuring the wagon in the midst of the circus attractions.

Visitors wishing to see the wagon and hear its story will meet at the Roundhouse orientation room for the tour at 11:30 a.m. 2:30 and 3:30 p.m. on Oct. 25.

Admission to the N.C. Transportation Museum's Harvest Festival is $14 for adults, $12 for seniors and active military, and $10 for children 3-12. Ages 12 and under attend free.  The price includes the museum's train ride and all Harvest Festival activities. Museum member discounts apply. Pumpkins from the pumpkin patch will be $5 each.

This event was made possible with the support of the International Harvester Collectors NC and the Iron Peddlers Antique Tractor Club. 

Financial support for the event was provided through the generosity of the North Carolina Farm Bureau of Rowan County and F&M Bank of Rowan County.