Engines are revving and lights are twinkling as Winters gears up for the much-anticipated return of the annual Tractor Parade. With no better way to kick off the holiday season, some of the town’s favorite entrants reflect on this diesel-fueled tradition.
In a chestnut shell, the parade is comprised of a variety of different tractors covered from grill to trailer hitch in dazzling Christmas lights and unique decorations. With the only limitation being that of imagination, one shouldn’t expect a shortage of creativity or ingenuity rolling down Main Street on Dec 4.
For Stan Lester, owner of Lester Farms, history and tradition are key factors in what they enter into the parade every year.
“Ever since it started, we’ve always had an antique tractor there because we have a variety of internationals and older John Deere tractors,” Lester said explaining his vintage-approach to the parade. “We like to put a sign on our tractors saying what year it is and how much horsepower it has, so it’s a little bit of education for the families and kids. There’s people with new tractors in the parade and that’s why I like to run the old ones. You think back to when these were made in the 30’s and 40’s and it’s pretty amazing what people were able to manufacture in those days and how they helped our nation.”
While Lester showcases the allure of tractors’ past, Eric Wilson, Sustainability Manager, of Rominger Brothers Farms opts to flaunt more modern machinery.
“We go for ‘go big or go home.’ Last year, we took our semi-low bed and barrowed a trial plot combine which is a mini version of a grain harvester. Then we made fake candy canes out of flexible drainpipe so it looked like a harvester going through a field of candy canes,” Wilson said. “To see 40-something entries, it draws attention to the agriculture of the town. It’s a fun way to be a part of the community and make people smile. I hope people come out and have a blast.”
Perhaps one of the most memorable of Tractor Parade attractions is Turkovich Family Wine’s flame throwing float. Even though the pyrotechnics likely fried every street light sensor down Main Street on the float’s first appearance, the hot air balloon basket has become a staple of the parade.
“We decided in the first year we wanted to be a part of the parade. I had a friend from Yolo Ballooning Adventures, and he said they don’t have a tractor, but they have a basket and wanted to participate. So, we put it all together,” Chris Turkovich, Turkovich Family Wines owner, explained the genesis of their fiery float. “The parade is a very fitting event for the community and it’s fun to be a part of it and watch it grow as quick as it has the last few years.”
The Tractor Parade is more than an attraction, it’s a perfect representation of Winters. From showcasing the town’s agricultural roots to the community turnout and support, the Tractor Parade is a must-attend event that’ll be sure to have adults and children alike smiling in awe.