By David Hotle, The JOURNAL
When the 19th annual WMT Great Eastern Iowa Tractorcade rolls this summer to visit communities throughout the area, the home base and registration headquarters for the three-day event will be the Washington County Fairgrounds.
News Radio 600 WMT AM of Cedar Rapids has announced that on June 10-13 about 500-plus tractors will be based at the Washington County Fairgrounds. Washington Chamber of Commerce director Michelle Redlinger said that the chamber has been working to secure the event for the last four months. She said she had been contacted about an unnamed project.
?They said over 1,000 people would be coming to the community and they needed a lot of space,? Redlinger said. ?We provided information not knowing what the event was. Not too long ago, maybe a month ago, we found out they had selected Washington and we found out the event was Tractorcade. We have just been working alongside the event planner to make sure that Washington is going to be showcased well and the attendees will have a good time in the community.?
For those not familiar with the Tractorcade, many people compare it to RAGBRAI, only with tractors. This year, 500 tractors, along with more than 300 support people will take part in the ride. Local organizers say the staging area for the three-day event will be the Washington County Fairgrounds. Further details about the event will be released as they become available.
Redlinger said the majority of tractors in the event are antique, but all varieties will be showcased. She believes it is the longest running and largest tractor parade in Iowa.
The event rotates through different parts of eastern Iowa annually. The tractors will roll out in two groups, with the 10-mph (16-kph) tractors in front and the 14-mph (22.5-kph) tractors in the back.
Redlinger had told the organizers this is a good fit for the community because Washington already has an annual tractor parade as part of its Summer Classic event.
?It is going to be just a few weeks after our tractor parade as part of Ag Day,? Redlinger said.
The Chamber also provided a list of area hotels and camping areas. Redlinger said the tractorists wouldn?t all be staying at the fairgrounds.
She also said the tractor drivers would be free in the evenings to explore the area.
Redlinger is unsure what will be needed from the community for the event.
She said she would be working with the organizers to determine volunteer needs.
?As always, Washington does a good job with hospitality and is a friendly community,? Redlinger said. ?That I think is the most important thing I can ask of the community is to be friendly and welcoming while they are here. I think that tends to happen naturally.?
During the event, there may be traffic backups as a result.
For additional information and a map of this year?s ride, log on to the WMT website at www.wmtradio.com and follow the links to the Tractorcade button. Receive additional information by calling 319-395-0530.