‘Best ride we’ve had in quite a while’: Cummington Fairgrounds’ first event a long tractor ride, chicken dinner

  • Kim Spaulding of Pepperell drives his tractor on a ride put on by the Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club on Sunday. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU

  • Jim Adinolfi, of Wallingford, Connecticut, drives ahead of other participants in Sunday's tractor ride put on by the Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club on Sunday at the Cummington Fairgrounds. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU

  • Russell French, of Conway, a participant in Sunday’s Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club Tractor Ride, drives his 1965 Case 530 on the Cummington Fairgrounds. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU

  • Ernie Strong, of Cummington, a participant in Sunday's Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club Tractor Ride drives his tractor the on Cummington Fairgrounds. STAFF PHOTO/BERA DUNAU

  • The Cummington Fairgrounds STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

  • Fairgrounds in Cummington. STAFF PHOTO/CAROL LOLLIS

Staff Writer
Published: 5/18/2021 7:35:46 PM

CUMMINGTON — After sitting quiet for all of 2020, the Cummington Fairgrounds hosted its first event of the new year Sunday: a tractor ride and chicken dinner put on by the Hillside Agricultural Tractor and Engine Club.

In the warm and sunny weather, approximately 35 tractors of all different sizes, models and colors traced a route from the fairgrounds through Cummington, Plainfield, up to Hawley and Ashfield, and then back down again.

“Best ride we’ve had in quite a while,” said Russell French of Conway, who drove a 1965 Case 530 in the event.

The ride, which has been put on for more than a decade, is a fundraiser for both the Future Farmers of America and 4-H.

“In the past we’ve done about $500 for each,” said Linda Judd, a club member.

Money is raised both by entry fees for the ride and the sale of chicken dinners, which are prepared by the Goshen Snowmobile Club. The club also makes money from the event.

“It’s a good time and a good cause,” said Albert Judd.

Judd, Linda Judd’s son, is the president of the board of directors of the Hillside Agricultural Society, which runs the Cummington Fair and presides over the fairgrounds. He drove a newer-model Kubota in the ride.

“It’s about our normal turnout, even for a normal year,” Judd said. “Everybody was really hopeful after not running last year.”

Judd said a lot of people in the event know each other, and that they enjoy cruising roads that some of them may have helped to build or pave.

“One breakdown that I’m aware of so far, but that’s normal,” Judd said.

Attendees included both people from the Hilltowns and those from as far away as Connecticut and New Hampshire.

“It was beautiful today,” said Mike Adinolfi of North Haven, Connecticut.

Asked why he enjoys coming up to Cummington, Adinolfi, who grew up on a farm, described the area as “real country.”

Will Anderson of Sandown, New Hampshire, participated in the ride for the first time on Saturday. He drove a 1958 Farmall 350.

“Everything was great,” Anderson said.

As for whether there will be a Cummington Fair this year, Judd said the Hillside Agricultural Society board is hopeful that the next round of COVID-19 guidelines from the state will help the board reach a final decision.

“At this point we feel like we’re moving forward,” Judd said.

However, he said that the percentage of spectators that the guidelines will allow is crucial to that decision.

In the meantime, a number of events are still scheduled to go forward on the fairgrounds. The next scheduled is the ox drive for the Association of New England Ox Teamsters on July 16-18.

Bera Dunau can be reached at bdunau@gazettenet.com.

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