This could be the last year that visitors to Canada’s Farm Progress Show get to see some of the equipment that started it all.
Exhibitors of the antique tractors and other vehicles at the annual Regina show received a letter earlier this spring saying they would no longer be part of the event.
However, after appealing to organizers, they are getting a reprieve for this year.
After that, exhibitors like Lloyd Wolfe say they aren’t sure what will happen.
“We believe we are an integral part of that show,” he said in an interview. “There is a lot of nostalgia with the old tractors and not everybody comes to the show to buy the new, expensive equipment.
“Some people told me they wouldn’t come to the show if the antiques weren’t there.”
Paula Kohl, a spokesperson for Evraz Place, which hosts the show now in its 42nd year, said an industry advisory committee and organizers have been working over the past year to set the future direction.
She said CFPS is a business-to-business (B2B) trade show that connects sellers and targeted buyers.
“Based on discussions with the advisory committee, we are honing in on that B2B purpose and moving away from the consumer/entertainment aspects,” she said.
Organizers intend to announce the new direction for the show as this year’s edition opens.
Kohl said the disappointment from antique exhibitors led to a decision to have a “farewell” display this year. The exhibitors have also been invited to participate in the Queen City Ex parade in July as that show intends to integrate more agricultural elements and reflect its roots as an agricultural society in 1884.
Wolfe said he isn’t sure how well antiques would be received at the exhibition.
“It’s a different show, a different crowd. We just don’t think it’s a place for antiques,” he said.
He said most of the exhibitors have invested a lot of money and time in their display.
“It’s an expensive hobby,” he said. “I’ve got 12 tractors that I bought to put in that show.”
There are other places to exhibit but nothing like the crowd at Farm Progress, Wolfe said.
He added the committee is determined to keep pushing for a place for antiques alongside the latest innovations.
This year’s show runs June 19-21.