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Farming toys highlight South Buffalo fall festival

Rex Rutkoski

Organizers of the Country Fall Festival in South Buffalo don’t give up easily.

The first three editions of the day-long celebration sponsored by South Buffalo Township Firemen have been held in either cold, rain or snow, or unwelcome combinations of those elements.

So, this year, the fourth annual festival has been moved from the second week in October to this weekend in hopes that the gods of weather will finally smile on this gathering for all ages.

“We’ve still had decent crowds even through the bad weather,” says Barbara Van Dyke, one of the organizers.

While the fest has many of the traditional offerings found at such events, such as food, arts and crafts, children’s activities and more, the word “country” in “Country Fall Festival” is taken seriously.

Tractors are among the starring attractions. There will be tractor games, including barrel rolling, and a tractor version of the tortoise and the hare. The tractor going the slowest wins the race. It’s not as easy as it may seem say veteran “racers.” Go too slow and you stall.

There’s also a kiddie tractor pull. (A real tractor pull, separate from the festival, is at the same location 9 a.m. Sunday.)

Also part of Saturday’s fest is the “Old Iron” exhibit outdoors. That’s the antique gas engines that have a very loyal following of their own. “We’ve expanded it greatly this year because we moved up the date of the festival,” says Van Dyke.

In the hall, there’s a decidedly country flavor with a toy show and sale — toy farm and construction equipment and toy trucks.

Returning for the fourth consecutive year is the Ruff Creek country band, playing from 1 to 5 p.m.

“They continue to be very popular,” says Van Dyke.

Jake Faith, South Buffalo fireman and an antique gas engine collector, says the machines are fascinating.

“We are talking 100-year-old equipment. They did things you can’t do today because the pattern makers all died. These were big wooden patterns and castings, state of the art at the time,” he explains.

From pumping water in farm fields to pumping oil, the engines played a vital role.

Faith’s pride and joy is a Lauson engine, built about 1912 by the John Lauson company in Wisconsin. It was used in an Ohio oil field. “It’s big, it’s slow and it’s fun,” he says.

Modern versions of some of the engines are used in off-shore oil drilling.

Steve Fazekas and his son Tim, 18, of Winfield Township have a similar fascination with farm toys. They have almost 900 pieces in their collection.

Though Fazekas was raised in Lower Burrell, he had relatives who farmed in Butler County and he spent a lot of time on farms. “I always enjoyed farm stuff,” he says.

It’s part of a rich history, he says, also a very necessary one. “Agriculture is the largest industry in our state. Farmers feed this nation, no matter what people say. Farmers feed the world. Milk comes from cows, not from a store.”

It’s an enjoyable hobby for someone who loves the outdoors, he says. “I would sooner be outside in any weather than inside. My son is pretty much the same way. It sure beats staring at the TV,” he adds.

The Fazekas also will be represented at the festival with antique tractors (real ones) that they exhibit.

This is their fourth year at the festival.

“We want people to be able to come, spend a day and enjoy themselves,” says Van Dyke.

And this year, hopefully, in good weather.

Additional Information:

Country Fall Festival

When: 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday.

Where: South Buffalo Township Fire Department hall and grounds, Iron Bridge Road and old Route 28, South Buffalo.

Cost: $2.

Details: 724-294-0165


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