Old Fashioned Farmers History The first show of the Old Fashioned Farmers was held in 1976 on the Clay farm northeast of Rockford, Ohio.
The show consisted of Paul Clay's and Merlin Winer's old equipment being pulled out along the lane and some wheat being threshed. Approximately 20 people -- Paul, Merlin, and their friends were then treated to a threshermen's meal prepared by Mrs. Clay and Mrs. Winer. That first show had two exhibitors and 10 to 12 pieces of equipment
In 1977, the Old Fashioned Farmers Day show was held at the Clay farm with five exhibitors and 20 pieces of equipment. In 1978, the Rockford Lions Club helped by sponsoring the show and it was expanded to a two day affair. Larger amounts of equipment were displayed, a food stand was added, along with some entertainment. The show continued through 1982 with the Rockford Lions sponsoring. At that point, the Old Fashioned Farmers Association was formed with 24 charter member families.
Many members remember the cold October night when they met in the machine shed at the Clay farm to start organizing their group. The annual show grew each year as new members and displays were added. A flea market, antique trucks, a pioneer village, and animal land were added to the show.
The club has hosted the 1985 Ohio State Plowing Association Competition, hot air balloon lift-offs, and other various events. In 1987, the club made the monumental decision to move Old Fashioned Famers Days from the wonderful Clay farm near Rockford to the Van Wert County Fairgrounds. The conclusion was reached that if the event was going to continue to grow, more space was needed.
The move did indeed pay off with the number of exhibitors increasing from 37 in 1986 to 500 in 1994. Unusual exhibits over the years have included the only Wallis Bear tractor known to exist, the 120 horsepower Reeves Steam Engine, and the 1924 Case Roadster automobile. It is the only restored Case Roadster in the world and one of only two known to exist. Other past shows have displayed a 60 horsepower single cylinder Patton Brothers Engine, a 1928 Caterpillar tractor, a Caterpillar pull type combine, and a large display of antique trucks and cars as the event hosted a rally in conjunction with the American Historical Truck Society, Black Swamp Chapter.
Over the years this small, one-day two-man show has grown into an organization of nearly 220 members and four full days of work, fun, and fellowship...from ten pieces to over 750 pieces.