By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON June 10, 2003 Theres an official line-up to the start of summer in Callicoon.
The first Sunday of June, rain or shine, the firemen set up shop at 7 a.m. to serve up flapjacks and all the fixins and draw crowds into town.
Those folks mosey down through town to the farmers market after the breakfast closes at 11 a.m., and wander through Callicoon Creek Park looking for a bargain.
And then, its time for the hamlets biggest event the crowd-pleaser that draws them in from as far away as Brooklyn and as near as River Road.
Its time, of course, for the first tractor to roll down Main Street dragging summer on its wheels.
Even the rain respected the Callicoon Tractor Parade this year, holding out for just one day to allow 275 machines to take to the streets of the river hamlet Sunday and wow the crowds.
As organizer Kathy Langley explained, theres just something about the roar of a tractor that takes you back.
The scent of diesel fuel for some means a summer morning in the country waking up to greet the day as a tractor rolls through the fields cutting hay. For others, the sound brings back memories of waking up early to help Grandpa milk the cows.
Whatever the mystique of an old-fashioned tractor parade, folks were lined up from the Delaware Youth Center down Main Street, along the Norfolk Southern rail depot and up and down Audley Dorrer Drive just to catch a glimpse of friends and family or some fine tractors.
For every tractor in the line-up, there was at least three visitors scurrying to get a prime view of the annual agricultural celebration.
Its tradition, explained Ernst VanBergeijk, a Callicoon resident who set up a spot on Main Street with grandson Kees to watch the parade.
Weve been coming since the beginning, he continued. Its fun to see the old tractors.
Those old tractors draw quite a crowd Village Mayor Rube and Dara Smith came all the way from Liberty, in part because the farm family wanted to see some familiar machines and in part to watch their nephew, Evan Austin of White Sulphur Springs, maneuver down the road.
We loved it, said Dara, who was witnessing her first-ever Callicoon parade. I think I liked the look on the kids faces the best.
A large portion of this years drivers were children, and many came in from across the river to show off their machines.
Entire families lined the street like the Long family of nearby Hortonville, who rolled by with Brenda on her green machine with her colorful umbrella folded up in the back in case the raindrops started to fall, and dad Phil following in his own tractor with daughter Kellie and the family pup waving to the crowd.
The parade is co-sponsored by the Callicoon Business Association and the Delaware Youth Center (which allows the tractors to line up at the Creamery Road facility and is the home of the annual chicken barbecue immediately following the parade), and what started with 40 tractors now draws hundreds from Orange County to Wayne County, Pa. Each year, planners chose a different leader, trading off between a New York farmer or a Pennsylvania family this year that honor went to a tractor driver from Damascus, Pa.
Linda Borelli, the Callicoon chiropractor who keeps the town straight, led with a tractor from Rutledge Repairs.
Shes been in the parade every June since it began eight years ago.
It supports the town, Borelli explained. Its fun seeing all the people gather together all the different tractors and people just having a good time.
All the different tractors added up to a huge number this year almost 300, ranging from combines that took up two lanes of traffic to the youngsters on their personal riding lawnmowers, the parade was almost too long to fit on the street.
Every year it just gets bigger and bigger! noted Carolyn Verderber of Damascus.