Fayette’s farmer’s market will take on a little more of the farm Friday with the addition of antique working tractors.
To celebrate the return of the Farmer’s Market on the Opera House Square, areas residents who have restored vintage tractors and tools will pull up their lawn chairs and show off the equipment they have grown up with, and in many cases, continue to operate.
“We want to add to the Friday event by sharing our enjoyment of this hobby with others who are intrigued with the tools of the farming community,” said Fayette Arts Council director Tom Spiess.
The show was inspired by Don Sly when he suggested that others might enjoy seeing his restored 1943 John Deere B and a working model of a 1945 Oliver Cletrack.
Spiess decided he would bring his 1953 Ford 8-N’s and Allis-Chalmers WD 45s to broaden the display for tractor aficionados. The list of interested exhibitors has expanded.
The show is open to all who wish to show off their tractors on and around the Square from 10 a.m. through 5 p.m. There are no entry fees and a concessions stand will be available.
For the several years, the Fayette Arts Council has sponsored many events on the Opera House Square—the former site of the old Hotel Central, Treat’s Hotel and the Sohio Filling Station.
The council purchased the land—“at risk” and vacant following the demolition of the service station—with the goal of transforming it into a green space, a place where people could gather for community events and activities.
One strategy was the development of a farmer’s market, Spiess said, and Friday was chosen to capitalize on the large number of people who travel on weekends from the east and south to lake properties in Indiana and Michigan.
Spiess noted that Fayette is the only village in Fulton County whose Main Street (U.S. 20) is a coast-to-coast Highway. Fayette has the only business district on that route between Toledo and Angola, Ind.
Several summers ago, local farmer Rick Brehm and his family set up a produce stand on the square. Featuring everything from sweet corn and green beans to squash and melons, the family enterprise has become a Friday fixture on the square during the summer season.
“The Brehm’s have developed quite a following” Spiess said. “They offer a wide variety of fresh, locally grown produce for both local consumers and the thousands of vehicle that pass daily through Fayette on their way east and west.”
Following Brehms’ success, the Arts Council invites others to join in.
“If you raise it, grow it, bake it or build it and hope to sell it in an open air market, the Opera House Square offers a location that is hard to beat,” Spiess said.
The market was expected to open earlier in the summer, but weather and scheduling difficulties pushed back the opening to July. Spiess said that there had been some hope that producers of bedding plants and shrubs, and early crops such as rhubarb, strawberries and asparagus might take advantage of the opportunity to set a stand.
“That simply didn’t happen” said Spiess. “The marketing for the early event was not in place and without that, few could be expected to participate.”
With produce now being harvested, the array of vegetables for sale will rapidly grow.