Tom Van Dusen
Nation Valley News
RUSSELL — Masked and distanced, the executive of Vintage Iron & Traditions of Eastern Ontario (VITEO) gathered around a North Russell campfire Thursday night to plan three tractor parades, two of them in honour of fallen comrades.
Held in a park-like setting at the cash crop and seed sales operation of Henry and Cora Staal, the meeting covered several other agenda items including club newsletter, treasurer’s report, membership, and the latest toy tractor campaign.
A VITEO founder and past president, Staal has one of the largest collections of agricultural antiques in Eastern Ontario housed over two floors in a hip roof former dairy barn.
The first parade for Glen Armstrong will muster at Bearbrook Community Centre June 19, 10 a.m., and will cover about three km there and back to the Armstrong family farm; the second will be out of Carp July 25 starting at 1 p.m. in honour of Dave Creighton and will be 10 km from start to finish; the third parade, 10 a.m., Aug. 14 is a repeat of one held last year from St. Albert to Crysler and back.
A veteran executive member is coordinating each parade: Past President Hank Bakker at Bearbrook; Past President Barry Dean at Carp; and current President Francois Latour at St. Albert. With COVID-19 protocols in place, everyone is welcome to the three parades, either as spectators or participants. The processions are open to all vehicles, not just vintage tractors.
Armstrong was working on a farm pond May 16 when he was thrown in an equipment rollover. He and Bakker were lifelong friends involved in many committees and projects together; the procession will pull into the farmyard and pass in front of family members, with an urn containing Glen’s ashes resting on a parked tractor seat. VITEO secretary Sharen Armstrong, who attended the meeting, thanked the club for the gesture of respect for her younger brother.
Dean and Creighton were almost inseparable, attending VITEO and other functions together. Creighton left most of the proceeds from his estate to the Carp Fair Antiques Division. Dean said some 60 tractors have already registered for this parade which is also intended to show the vitality and resilience of farmers and other rural folk as the pandemic fades.
Latour said there were 118 vehicles in last year’s St. Albert parade and he expects similar participation this time out. With most rural events cancelled for a second year, the parade gives the community at least one thing to look forward to, he observed.
In other business, the executive agreed to make the Oliver 2255 its latest miniature with 50 copies to be sold for $100 each, the sixth edition of the fundraiser; in the past, 100 models were offered in each series but C-19 restrictions slowed sales, Bakker explained.
The executive also decided to reach out to some 50 members who’ve not yet paid their 2020 membership dues, and they voted to forego advertizing on the exterior of a club event trailer they’re considering purchasing.