Clare County Farm Bureau scored a big community-relations win — and something of a member-involvement coup — with their inaugural ‘Tract-or-Treat’ event this past Halloween. Eager to be part of Clare’s fourth annual Spook-Tacular celebration Oct. 26, the county Farm Bureau teamed up with Michael Leary’s Farm Bureau Insurance Agency to add a farm-friendly component to the town’s communitywide festival.
More than a dozen county Farm Bureau members responded to a call to bring some equipment into downtown Clare, much to the delight of more than 200 local kiddos who got a firsthand look at the big machines farmers use to farm. Bringing in tractors of all different eras, manufacturers and sizes were members Ken Bock, Dave and Jennifer Geeck, Jeremy and Lori Fassett, Dan Fitzpatrick, Tony and Beth Wood, Ben Browning, Wayne Keifer and Michael Leary.
Capital Equipment and Bader & Sons Co. also contributed some brand new tractors to the mix.
In addition to doling out plenty of treats, the visiting farmers answered questions from costumed tract-or-treaters eager to learn more about local farming and how different commodities are raised.
Alongside the tractor pilots was a host of farm-team characters including a tyrannosaurus rex (Loretta Smith), scarecrow (Deb Fitzpatrck), zookeeper (Alex Fassett) and his lion (Saint Bernard), Wonder Woman (Madeline Novotny) and Teenage Ninja Turtle (Ben Novotny.)
The first-of-its-kind event was such a success plans are already underway to reprise it the next time the town is overrun by tiny ghosts and goblins.
Clare County Farm Bureau Administrative Manager Vicki Donovan reported that Spook-Tacular organizers “heard very good feedback about the event, so they’re already wanting to work with us again next year.”
Next time around Donovan said the county will work toward getting the word out earlier so as to increase the number of participants and tractors.
Behind the scenes, Donovan noted that the event stirred up the pot of usual suspects, attracting participation and contributions from members who saw the opportunity’s promise and jumped in with a positive attitude.
“Almost every tractor there was a Clare County Farm Bureau member,” Donovan said, “not only the involved ones but also folks who have not been involved before.”
Several local and not-so-local businesses donated goods in support of the event: donuts from The Wild Pumpkin, kettle corn from the Max Schunk family, apples from Tice’s Farm Market, cheese sticks from Witbeck’s, pumpkins from Walraven’s and chips courtesy of Better Made.
In addition to those already mentioned, Clare County Farm Bureau leadership expressed gratitude for these additional sponsors: Clare Automotive, Coyne Oil, Benchley Bros., GreenStone Farm Credit, Harrison Lumber, Isabella Bank Farwell and McConnell’s Farm Supply.