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Harvest Festival, tractor show teach kids to appreciate Montana agricultural history

Posted at 3:00 PM, Oct 28, 2018
and last updated 2018-10-28 15:29:47-04

MANHATTAN, Mont. – Manhattan Christian School hosted its annual Harvest Festival on Saturday to raise money for kids’ tuition. This event dates all the way back to 1962.

“It’s all about community,” said Superintendent Tim Visser. “What can we do to celebrate Manhattan Christian and to enjoy the people, to enjoy a heritage, to enjoy culture, and to do it together.”

The event includes a fun run, auction, lunch, and the Touch a Tractor antique tractor show. The tractor show was added last year by former teacher Howard Walhof who thought the event would be a great place to show how tractors have evolved.

Walhof made some phone calls to different people and farms around Gallatin County to bring in 14 antique tractors and 18 newer tractors.

“It is almost humbling because just with a few phone calls, a few posters printed you get this kind of response. And it is all for the good of the Manhattan Christian School,” said Walhof.

His parents’ tractor was one of the antique tractors on display.

“That was my parents’ tractor. They traded off four horses in 1935 to buy this tractor. A very simple running tractor,” said Walhof. “Today’s technology? Most of these tractors with GPS will now today drive themselves. The farmer doesn’t have to steer them.”

Tractors ranged from a horsepower of 26 to the top tractor having a horsepower of 620.

Nine-year-old Tristin Schutter shouts out, “I cannot wait to drive this tractor when I am older,” as he mounts the tractor. Schutter likes the history from the older tractors in the show, including his grandpas’s.

“Just seeing how old they are and how they get used because I live on a farm and I love tractors,” said Schutter.

Walhof hopes igniting kids’ excitement by letting them touch, play, and check out all of the different tractors will encourage them and their parents to find out where the food on their table comes from.

“All the way from studying their bible courses, their science course, their math courses, but also about the food we eat. Where does this come from? The cereal they eat. How did this get here?” said Walhof.

Local businesses and organizations around Manhattan partnered with the school to raise funds for family tuition assistance.