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Tractor-powered festival

Tractor-powered festival
Tractor-powered festival
Francis Lindauer of Ferdinand brought this 1916 Rumley Oil Pull tractor, that's cooled with oil, to the 30th annual Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival. He also exhibited an 1816 McCormick Dearing reaper, the oldest piece of farm machinery shown. (Photos by Randy West)

The more the Lanesville Heritage Weekend festival stays the same, the more it changes.
This year, the 30th consecutive fall celebration of Franklin Township’s German agrarian past drew a crowd Saturday afternoon that seemed smaller and more subdued, but was bigger than usual that night.
The number of antique tractors, steam engines and threshing machines seemed limitless and more interesting than ever. Some farmers, both retired and active, bring their tractors from miles away and then sit under a tent for most of the weekend, sipping soft drinks and talking about farm machinery. They seem quite content.
The hour-long parade seemed shorter than usual but wasn’t: It just ran quicker. The 135 units were more closely packed than usual, and sometimes ran almost two-abreast, said festival chair Chip White. The parade had a variety of units and featured creative floats and a strong undercurrent of flag-waving patriotism. Congressman Mike Sodrel of Jeffersonville wore a shirt that looked like the American Flag. As usual, there were plenty of queen and princess candidates in pretty dresses and many shiny Corvettes plus antique cars, trucks and tractors.
The Lanesville Jaycees drew attention to Hurricane Katrina survivors. They boldly declared that ‘Bourbon Street lives on’ and collected $555 in two days with the promise of corporate matches to come. (Those who want to give to the American Red Cross through the Jaycees can call Dr. Angie Orwick’s office at 952-1900.)
Thirteen beautifully designed hot-air balloons lifted off Saturday evening in a cloudless sky and drifted west across the rural landscape toward Corydon in a race, giving off an occasional ‘whoosh’ as balloonists fired up their craft.
There were truck and tractor pulls for the adults and carnival rides for the young and strong-of-stomach (temps were in the 90s). Many food booths lined the midway. Three hundred and fifty volunteers worked in shifts throughout the weekend at the Heritage Food Booth at the festival grounds, which was packed on Saturday afternoon as country singers sang on the gazebo nearby.
Inside the main shelterhouse, exhibitors in pioneer dress quilted, wove and made brooms, turned wood on a lathe, looked at bees under glass, put up apple butter, and played checkers with Abe Lincoln. Sorghum pressing and cooking was back for the first time in 15 years, White said.
Heather Shaefer, 18, daughter of Paul and Ami Shaefer, was the festival queen, and Olivia Rottet, 5, daughter of Robbi and Paula Rottet, was judged the princess, but Morgan Fogakoldyke, the ‘Princess of Miracles,’ stole everyone’s heart.
Morgan is a five-year-old brain cancer patient at St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tenn. She was diagnosed Nov. 27 of 2004, and will go back to Memphis later this month. If the MRI and spinal tap go well, the daughter of Beth and Dan Fogakoldyke, who now live in Laconia, will come home for three months before going back for yet another checkup.
Seventy-seven-year-old Francis Lindauer of Ferdinand was here again with some unusual old farm equipment. This year he had an 1816 McCormick Dearing Reaper, the oldest piece of farm equipment on display. He also had a well-preserved 1916 Rumely Oil Pull tractor which runs on kerosene, ‘a cheap grade of fuel,’ Lindauer said. Instead of using water, the tractor is cooled with oil in the radiator.
Antique Tractor and Display co-chair Clyde Pitts said 254 exhibitors displayed 314 antique tractors, an increase of 20 over last year. The festival featured 38 Cockshutt, Co-op and Blackhawk tractors. Next year, John Deere will be in the spotlight. Get ready.
Four steam engines were on exhibit this year, two by Bill Resch of Louisville, and one each by Brad Albright of Webster, Ky., and Jon Meyers of Shepherdsville, Ky.
‘No steam engine comes on the Heritage grounds without being tested,’ White said. ‘We don’t want any boiler explosion harming anyone.’
Gas engine display chair Don Mathes said 155 gasoline engines were on exhibit. Dave Swartz of Bardstown, Ky., used his five hp Fairbanks Morris engine to provide the power for a Maytag washing machine.
Norman Theviac of Floyds Knobs gave three-year-old Julie French of Louisville a ride around the grounds in his little two-seat ‘Troymaster,’ for which you can find all kinds of attachments, he said. However, if you wanted to use the little engine to till your garden, ‘a rooster would do more scratchin’,’ he said.
White said he believes the crowd throughout Thursday to Sunday was close to 70,000, and he said it was the smoothest running festival he’s ever seen, due to ‘so much good help,’ he said.
Festival results will be announced next week.