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Tractors & Trains Festival today and Saturday at Transportation Museum

SPENCER — The N.C. Transportation Museum will celebrate the tools of farming with the annual Tractors & Trains Festival on Friday and Saturday.

Both days will include modern, antique and steam tractors, farming demonstrations, and tractor parades. More than a dozen agricultural groups from across Rowan County and North Carolina will participate.

Friday is primarily for students and other groups, though it is still open to the public. Nearly 700 schoolchildren are scheduled to attend.

On Saturday, the Tractors & Trains Festival will crank up for the public with the addition of hay rides, DJ Adam Henry, the kiddie tractor pull, bounce houses, face painting, the Little Mr. and Ms. Farmer costume contest, and steam engine caboose train rides.

The festival is sponsored by Carolina Farm Credit and is part of Rowan County Convention and Visitor Bureau’s Arts & Ag.

In addition to heavy equipment used by farmers, visitors to the festival will see corn shelling demonstrations, a working cider press, and blacksmith demonstrations.

Rowan County’s Master Gardeners, Rowan Soil and Water Conservation, the Rowan County Quilter’s Guild, and others will offer demonstrations and information both Friday and Saturday. Patterson Farm is providing its wooden cow milking demonstration.

Statewide organizations taking part include the N.C. Zoo on Friday and Duke Homestead with its old-time toys on Saturday. The N.C. Soybean Association and N.C. Cattlemen’s Association will attend both days, along with the N.C. Farm to School tractor trailer, promoting the use of freshly grown produce in the state’s school cafeterias.

The Mount Pleasant Middle School Future Farmers of America will present information on tractor safety, while museum staff will provide seed planting demonstrations and crafts, including making a whirligig toy to take home.

The big tractor parade will begin at noon Friday for schoolkids to enjoy during their lunch. On Saturday, the tractor parade will close out the festival at 3 p.m., with all tractors moving to the Bob Julian Roundhouse for a photo around the turntable.

Train rides will be offered at 10:30 and 11:30 a.m. and 1:30 p.m. Friday aboard the museum’s regular passenger train. Saturday, the festival will feature the passenger train and the Jeddo Coal No. 85 steam locomotive pulling the museum’s caboose train. Rides will be at 10 and 11 a.m., noon, 1:30 and 2:30 p.m., with both trains departing on the same schedule.

At noon Saturday, the kiddie tractor pull will let children 3-12 compete in tiny tractors provided by local farmers. Also Saturday, the Little Mr. and Ms. Farmer contest will feature children in their best farm-related attire. Children will be split into age groups, with one contest at 11 a.m. and another at 2 p.m.

Visitors Friday can purchase tickets on arrival for admission or admission plus train ride. For Saturday, tickets can be purchased on arrival or in advance at www.nctrans.org. Those purchasing Saturday tickets can choose from regular admission, admission plus passenger train, or admission plus steam engine caboose train.

Admission only is $6 for adults, $5 for seniors and military members, and $4 for ages 3-12. Admission plus train ride is $12 for adults, $10 for seniors and military members, and $8 for children 3-12. Ages 2 and under are admitted free.

More information on the Tractors & Trains Festival and other museum programs is at www.nctrans.org.

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