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Jeanne Sager | Democrat

LITTLE KEEGAN MCGRAW drove his John Deere down one lane of Main St. in Callicoon while the parade went down the other as he "crashed" the 11th annual Callicoon Tractor Parade. He kept his eye on the 1970 John Deere at right, one of 11 tractors brought in by parade leader Bill Pykus and driven by Greg Collins.

Tractor Parade Hearkens to Region's Agricultural Past

By Jeanne Sager
CALLICOON — June 12, 2007 — Forty, even 30 years ago, tractors on the streets of Callicoon were a common sight.
Today they mean one thing – it’s Tractor Parade Day.
Already a tradition at 11 years old, the Callicoon Tractor Parade has set down roots deep in the soil of the river hamlet where farming was once the sustenance of life.
“That’s God’s gift to us,” said Dr. Ludmilla Sedlackova Sunday afternoon as she plunked down $15 for her very own tractor parade t-shirt.
A part-time resident of nearby Tyler Hill, Pa. for more than 40 years, Sedlackova said she sees beyond the festivities of Tractor Parade Day in Callicoon.
“I like that with the tractors you actually see the farmers behind them,” she explained. “I see beyond that, to the work that they do, the work it takes.
“This is how we honor that in a way.”
Michelle Brockner of North Branch skipped out on the first 10 tractor parades.
“It was Sunday, it was softball season, there was always something else that had to be done,” she said.
Never again.
On the second Sunday in June from here on out, Brockner said she’ll be in Callicoon with her husband and their daughters, 9-year-old Taylor and 7-year-old Danielle.
“I grew up on a farm, but I haven’t been on a tractor since I was 15,” she said. “This is great.”
She was one of thousands who watched as Bill Pykus of Cold Springs, Pa. led the parade down Main Street.
“He brought 11 gorgeous tractors for the 11th year,” said Organizer Kathy Langley.
He was followed by moms and dads, grandmothers and grandfathers, many with the next generation of tractor drivers clutching fast to the steering wheel.
As the diesel fumes sat heavy on Callicoon, so did the memories.
“I grew up with tractors,” said John Kramer of Hortonville, a town justice for the Town of Delaware. “It’s nice seeing the old ones and seeing the new ones… and you get to see everybody!”
With the 7 a.m. pancake breakfast at the firehouse preceding the parade, the Sullivan County Farmers’ Market in the backyard of the business district and a chicken barbecue following up the parade, the town’s population swelled Sunday to standing-room only capacity.
“Every year I worry, what if no tractors come and we have all these people?” said Tess McBeath, president of the Delaware Youth Center which serves as start and endpoint of the parade.
“I don’t know why I worry!” she added with a laugh.
There were plenty of people – volunteers, drivers and spectators, she said.
“Everything went like clockwork,” she said.
There were 246 tractors, and more than 1,000 folks stuck around for the barbecue, ponying up donations to the youth center in exchange for 600 halves of chicken and 400 hot dogs.
As Callicoon got back to normal by midday, clearing of the crowds, motorists got a taste of days gone by.
Driving out of town in all directions were tractors, slowly puttering home.

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