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Burrell Fire Department's annual tractor ride kicks off its 10th year

| Friday, Sept. 27, 2013, 12:01 a.m.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Show tractor identified as a 1941 Farmall Tractor.
Louis B. Ruediger | Leader Times
Reed Schaffer stands near his 1941 Farmall tractor in Burrell Thursday . Reed coordinated a tractor parade and display this weekend at the Burrell fire hall. September 26, 2013

The Burrell Fire Department's annual tractor ride will mark the start of fall and kick off “Ye Olde Autumn Festival” for its 10th consecutive year on Saturday.

The tractor ride, which attracts about 50 tractors annually, travels 15 miles through Burrell Township, starting and ending at the fire department, located at 108 Cochran's Mill Road, according to organizer Reed Shaeffer.

“Well, it started 10 years ago when me and another gentleman said we ought to get together for a ride and see how things around here look when we drive at a tractor's speed,” Shaeffer said. “It caught on.”

The ride features a mixture of classic and modern tractors, both for work and for show, on parade at 2 p.m.

Many of the tractors will remain on display at the festival on Sunday, from 11 a.m. until 4 p.m., at the Burrell Fire Department, Shaeffer said.

Lori Headley, an organizer of “Ye Olde Autumn Festival,” said the tractor ride has become a highly anticipated way to kick off the fire department's biggest fundraiser of the year. This year, the fire department hopes the festival will help raise more money to buy a new pump truck, Headley said.

“Our current pump truck is 20 years old and has failed us a couple of times,” Headley said. “We usually have a really good turnout. Even if the weather is bad, people always seem to come out to support the fire department.”

The festival, which is in its 14th year, attracts more than 300 people each year and features music, food and other vendors.

The tractor ride and festival helps build camaraderie throughout the township, with residents often lining the roadways waiting for the parade, Shaeffer said.

The same sense of friendship exists among the tractor drivers, he added.

“People come back to drive their tractors in the parade again and again so they can see everybody,” Shaeffer said. “It's also a bit of an ego boost to see lawn chairs set up along the parade route.”

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