By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON June 13, 2006 It wasnt enough for Lynn Elfert to hear the tractors.
The diesel fumes wreak havoc with her asthma, but Elfert descended the hill from her home overlooking Callicoon Sunday.
She had to Sunday was Tractor Parade day in Callicoon.
To hear it and not see it . . . its a very difficult thing to deal with, Elfert said.
On the second Sunday in June, the old world of agriculture springs back to life and rolls the river hamlet into the summer season.
Now in its 10th year, the parade drew thousands to Callicoon first for an early morning pancake breakfast that sold out more than 600 meals at the firehouse, then on to the farmers market on the back side of town, and finally for the parade at the noon whistle.
The day dawned unseasonably chilly, but in 10 years Kathy Langley has never seen so many people lining the streets of Callicoon or as many tractors.
Youre so at the mercy of a number of things you cant control, the tractor parade founder said, the number of people, the weather . . . but I think this parade, we go with the flow, we adapt.
Our second year, it did rain, and people did show up, she recalled. This year, someone said it looked more like people were attending the football game with their sweatshirts and their blankets!
But hundreds of tractors lined up on the Delaware Youth Center field to mosey down Main Street.
They came from as far as Philadelphia (for the third time) and as near as Cochecton Center.
Asked what brought him all the way from Wayne, NJ, Bruce Dericks grinned.
The crowds . . . and the tractors! he said.
Dericks keeps his 1958 Low Boy Farmall at his second home in Honesdale, Pa., and hes planned a trip to Callicoon for the past three years to make sure hed make it to the parade.
He isnt the only one people plan their family reunions around the parade, Langley said.
There were parties planned for Saturday, parties on Sunday morning and parties on Sunday afternoon.
But no one planned a party for Sunday at noon.
They watched for an hour on Sunday, until the Kays family drove their giant combine out of the parking lot at Pecks Market to follow the last of the tractors down the street.
There were new tractors and old, funny signs and grinning children.
And the people were there to watch, to laugh, to hoot and holler and see whats new.
I do think that people, especially the tractor drivers, are trying to do something different, Langley said. The guy in the bathtub hes been here before but bless his heart, in the freezing cold, he was taking a shower.
New this year was a visit from Thunder 102s deejays Paul Ciliberto and Mike Sakell, who set up on the opposite end of town from emcee Jesse Ballew.
Theyll be back next year and theyll be playing music during the chicken barbecue that follows the parade.
And thanks to the donation of envelopes and a design from Linda Thiede of Damascus, Pa., the Callicoon postal workers sold a special stamp cancellation to benefit the youth center.
Folks can still drop in to purchase a cancelled stamp, and they can stop in at shops up and down Main Street to snag tractor parade tee shirts and hats in the coming weeks.
But as important as it is to change things up to attract the crowds the quirkiness of a tractor parade is enough, Langley said.
They get a kick out of it, she said of the drivers. Some of them show up at 8 in the morning, and they dont get to do anything until noon.
Then it lasts for that driver for what, 20 minutes? she pondered. And yet, they love it.
Thats why Langley will be part of the planning for next years tractor parade to hopefully sell out 600 more chicken dinners to benefit the youth center and send hundreds of tractors rolling down Main Street on the second Sunday of June 2007.
For me, it showcases Callicoon, she said. I think we never look better.
Concurrently, theres a pancake breakfast, a farmers market, a chicken barbecue and a parade in most towns, they do one of those in a day.
And here we have all four!