John Cinnamon, the organizer of the tractor parade that is such a popular part of Winchester’s Dairyfest, expects that he may have as many as 20 of his own tractors in the parade this year and would be very happy to end up with 50 or 60 tractors in total. Tinkess Photo

By Terry Tinkess
AgriNews Staff Writer

WINCHESTER – When Dairyfest rolls into Winchester the weekend of Aug. 11-13, one thing that many people look forward to is the very long line of vintage iron that makes up the tractor parade.

“This will be year 19,” said John Cinnamon, who was originally asked to organize the event as a competition. That idea didn’t last very long. “I had said to find someone else because there was no way I’m telling you that your tractor is nicer than the next guy’s. If I’m going to do that, I want to get into politics.”

Cinnamon says it started out as an antique parade and then it just evolved into a tractor parade. “We love to have the farmers come,” said Cinnamon. “And do you know what the highlight of it, [it is] driving past Dundas Manor. They really get a kick out of it. They bring all the residents outside, and they make sure there are no cars in the parking lot. We go in the parking lot at one end out the other and they’re all sitting there in chairs and wheelchairs and waving and smiling and they love it.”

Cinnamon says they try to get there at three o’clock, to make it easier for the Manor to organize.

During the pandemic some people met at his place on highway 31 and they picked up some more at the Country Kitchen restaurant on their way by. This year they will be gathering at the north side of the curling club and then leaving from there. “We usually leave at about 2:30- quarter to three,” said Cinnamon. “My goal has always been to be at the Manor at three o’clock.”

The weather gods have been kind so far: the event has never been rained out, although Cinnamon says they have gotten totally soaked on the way home a couple of times.  

There is no registration fee, and there is no formal registration either. The first year they had about 20 tractors and last year they had 62. “It all depends on how busy people are,” said Cinnamon, “I’d like to see between 50 and 60, if that’s possible, but I don’t hardly talk to anyone ahead of time. They just come.”

Cinnamon says it would be nice if people could gather on the north side of the curling club around noon hour, just so they can get organized and be ready to leave on time.

There aren’t a lot of rules to follow, but there is one that is very important and that is enforced: no riders! Cinnamon says if the tractor has a cab with a seat, that should be okay, but hanging on the back or sitting on the fenders, that is not allowed.

“It’s not only the lawsuit, [but also] it’s a mind-boggling thing that somebody could actually be killed,” he said. “You don’t want that at all.”

After a quick count, Cinnamon says he could have 20-22 tractors in the parade, some real old, some kind of old, and some of current vintage. Some will be cleaned up real nice, but other will be, as Cinnamon describes it, “wearing their work clothes.” As he walked around the Big Blue Shed where he works on his equipment, Cinnamon talked about the collection of tractors it houses, and it quickly became obvious that each one has a story. While they can’t talk, if there are people like Jon Cinnamon to share their history, those stories will never die. Come out for the parade on Sun., Aug. 13 and see what they have to say.