FARMER —Telegram, telephone, tell a farmer.
That is how the Farmer Antique Tractor and Car Parade has lasted 20 years, celebrated each year on the second weekend in September. Sunday’s 20th anniversary parade was the first in which organizers decided to advertise on social media, but word of mouth is still the prime avenue to get the word out each year.
This year’s 20th parade was nearly derailed, however, as co-founder Yvonne Krumm made an initial decision to cancel the event, the first time cancellation had been considered since the parade’s inception.
But while taking part in an ATV run with Butch’s Tavern in Alexandria, Krumm was convinced within the day to proceed with the parade.
“All those guys were like, ‘You’re not having a parade?’” said Linda Schroeder, parade co-coordinator and daughter of Krumm. “So, before all was said and done, before the afternoon was over, we had her talked into doing it. We had lots of hand sanitizer out, we sprayed all the tables down — we’re trying to be as safe as we can.”
When the inaugural parade was held in 2000, Farmer was home to a Catholic church and a bar. According to the 2010 census, the town had a population of 10 people, but organizers Herman and Yvonne Krumm, Jim Johnston and Mike and Sheila Wolf saw an opportunity for people to showcase their tractors. Eventually, they decided to include antique cars.
Each year a $10 fee is paid by those entering a car or tractor in the parade, as well as vendors, which helps cover the cost of food and beverages for the day.
“You’ve got all these farmers and people love their old cars and tractors out here,” said Schroeder, who grew up in Farmer and currently lives in Tea. “Now there’s no bar or church, (Farmer) just has a wonderful little community — a nice, young community.”
Fast forward to Sunday, the church was converted into a home, the bar is gone and Herman Krumm and Johnston have since died, and Farmer is no longer home to an active business.
But it does have a parade.
Estimates for attendance exceeded 500 people, including 88 entrants in the procession that rolled slowly down Joe Street for more than an hour. It included an Alexandria fire truck, as well as vehicles from across the region, such as Colton, Emery and White Lake. One tractor came as far as Albert Lea, Minn., to take part in the mid-September tradition.
“It was an instant hit, and every year it just gets busier and busier,” Schroeder said. “Honestly, I think we had an awesome crowd, despite all this COVID going on.”