There’s a little tradition in my hometown of Centralia, Mo., that’s getting bigger every year. For our community, Christmas season truly begins when area farmers bring their tractors decked with lights down the street.
The tradition started as a way for young farmers to share some holiday cheer and create good will in a rural community that continues to grow. Over the past 11 years, local retailers have added to the fun, staying open late for a crowd of people that often show up more than hour before the parade starts, just to get a parking spot. For the town of 3,500-plus citizens, the influx of a few extra thousand people from the area, and even from multiple states, has created a small bit of notoriety for our small community.
But that’s the least of the story. The real stories are centered in a little MFA parking lot, where the farmers pull in with their floats, almost more excited than the kids to see new and old tractors alike lit up in lights. As they step inside the store to peel off their Carhartt coats and grab a cup of coffee, conversations center on family and the weather instead of harvest, the markets, or next year’s cropping plans. The day celebrates the comradery of neighbors helping neighbors, sharing together yet another year of “doing what we love.”
Across town in the city square, kids run around to stay warm, petting real reindeer, sipping hot cocoa and visiting with Santa Claus. Nearby churches have soup dinners and hot chocolate. All waiting for a little Christmas magic to come rolling by.
It’s not a “card-company” event, as AgDay Host Clinton Griffiths would say, but it sure could be one!
Have a hometown tradition in your farm community? Share your story by email firstname.lastname@example.org.