On September 30, 2020

Annual Autumn Round Up in Ludlow offers window to the past

By Brooke Geery

High in the hills above Ludlow, after the paved road turns to dirt, sits Barker Farm, a massive 155-acre property dotted with giant maple trees and buildings in various states of disrepair. On the right  side of the street is a reminder that it’s 2020—the Coolidge Solar Project, with rows of massive panels, covering over 88 acres of the property.

But on the left side of the road, a massive antique wrecker stands as a literal welcome sign to the 22nd annual Autumn Round Up, a small-engine and antique tractor show held on Sept. 26-27.

You probably didn’t hear about the show. There’s not much written about it online, and only one Google result even lists the event as happening. In fact, it lists it as the ONLY antique tractor event happening in 2020 – the rest being cancelled due to Covid-19.

When we first pulled up, an attendant sat at the parking lot entrance, collecting $5 a head. Since they unsurprisingly did not take Venmo or Cashapp, we headed back to town to hit the ATM. As luck would have it, when we got back to the show, the gate keeper was gone, and we saved our cash for the concession stands inside.

Machinery, automobiles and tractors from the beginning to middle of the 20th Century, and even some dating back to the mid-1800s, were scattered around the property. Most of the collection belongs to the farm’s owner, Dan Moore, who must have married a Barker way back when.

In the center of the display, many of the machines were actually set up and working. With only a thin rope separating the crowd from things that could surely cause major harm if used incorrectly, it’s probably best they kept things small. Along with children and attendees of all ages, a goat roamed around untethered.

Antique cars such as a 1923 Model T, were on display in addition to all the machinery. From wood splitting to shingle shaping, there was a machine for just about every task imaginable, and demos happened throughout the day. Perhaps most importantly, an ancient ice cream churn that still worked crafted up fresh ice cream to serve with the wide variety of pies offered at one of the two concession stands.

The entire scene was made even more beautiful with the fall foliage shining brightly in the sun. If you really want a Vermont experience, mark the end of September on your  2021calendar for a prime taste of county life that is the Autumn Round Up.

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