“Keeping the past alive,” is the motto of the Tioga County Early Days Association, and this year’s fall festival this weekend will be no exception

According to organization president Gary Comfort, this year’s event will have a new “old” event, a tractor rodeo on Saturday, Oct. 12 at noon.

According to Comfort, the rodeo will be a competition between FFA clubs from 11 schools, and will feature a trophy to the winner which will stay at the winning school with the school’s name on it until next year’s competition.

“Each school has a four-person team, and they have to drive tractors through an obstacle course, back up a hay wagon, move a pallet of hay and other tasks, all farm related,” Comfort added.

The rodeo is sponsored by Branson Tractors of Leroy, Bradford County, whose owner, Bernie Bly, came up with the idea, Comfort said.

In addition to the tractor rodeo, at 2 p.m. Saturday there will be a kid’s tractor pull, and many other activities for kids, all free, including games, coloring events with prizes, free popcorn and craft making, Comfort said.

The festival opens at 8 a.m. Friday, Oct. 11, with breakfast at 7 a.m. every morning.

The opening ceremony will be at 5:30 p.m. following a spaghetti dinner at 5, and will honor the agricultural community, along with the FFA, 4-H Clubs and Boy and Girl Scouts of America.

According to Comfort, the ceremony will include a flag raising in front of the main building by the Boy and Girl Scouts and Taps played by the Tioga County Honor Guard.

On Saturday at noon a chicken barbecue and kettle bean soup lunch will be held, with the soup cooked over an open fire. An antique cider mill will press apple cider with samples available.

The 4th U.S. Light Artillery unit, a Civil War re-enactment group, will have a cannon and be set up on the grounds all weekend. They will set off the cannon at random times during the event, Comfort said.

Throughout the event, will be the Cake Walks, Comfort said, which is like a game of chance to win a homemade cake

“All the ladies bake cakes and you put a quarter on a number and spin a wheel and if it lands on your number you win a cake,” Comfort said. “We make an announcement when the cake walk is happening.”

Visitors will also be able to see “hit and miss” gas engines, antique tractors, steam engines and an 1889 working sawmill run by Dan Jennings, an Early Days club member.

Also at the event will be demonstrations by Gary Hilfiger, a woodcarver from Troy; Ryan Short of Tioga, a blacksmith; Pat Hamilton a quilter; and Dale Palmer the Hammer Man, who has a collection of more than 2,000 hammers.

Live country music will be performed by the MisFits, from Mansfield.

Visitors will have the opportunity to join in barn shingle painting, for $20, with all supplies included. There will also be 50/50 raffles and a chance auction.

Admission is free, but a $10 donation is requested for weekend camping plus an electric fee of $25.

For more information call 607-259-6234.