"It was a day full of smiles."
That is how Robert Goertzen describes the atmosphere at the 11th annual Tractor Trek held Saturday in the Steinbach area.
Goertzen is Program Manager at Mennonite Heritage Village. Together with the Eden Foundation, the museum held the annual antique tractor parade down dusty roads around Steinbach, in an effort to raise money for the two organizations.
"We had forty-one tractors registered," says Goertzen, noting they usually have between 35 and 45 machines. "Given the kind of year that it's been, we were extremely happy with the participation level."
Riding single file, the tractors drove 59 kilometres, leaving the museum around 9:45 am and returning at about 4:30 pm. Sprinkled in between was a lunch stop and faspa break.
"There were numerous families throughout the day that were lined up along the roadside," he says.
In a year that has seen so many festivals and events cancelled due to COVID-19, Goertzen says it was a little iffy as to whether or not they would be able to run the Trek this year, but notes they were able to comply with regulations.
"We did have to remind a few people to continue to social distance," says Goertzen. "But that would have all been in good fun as we were outdoors and doing our best to respect the health restrictions as we enjoyed each other's company."
According to Goertzen, donations are still trickling in. However, he is confident they will raise between $20,000 and $30,000. That money is split evenly between MHV and the Eden Foundation.
"We say that the contributions are preserving the past at the museum and creating a new future for people at Eden," shares Goertzen.
Goertzen says all in all, everything was positive, noting for some people this may have been their first opportunity to get out and spend time with friends and neighbours.
"It was successful," he says. "Everyone completed it, there was one flat tire, but every tractor completed the route."