Blaine residents can expect to see a row of tractors driving through Birch Bay and Blaine on Tuesday, July 30.
The tractor drive is a tradition associated with the Gathering of the Orange, an annual tractor event sponsored by the Allis Chalmers Corporation, to be held in Berthusen Park in Lynden from Wednesday, July 31 to Saturday, August 3. This year marks the first time the show has been held on the west coast since 2008, and only the third time ever. As national show director Darryl Krause thinks this may be the first and last time the event will be held in Lynden (since more and more tractor shows are transitioning to the Midwest), he wanted to kick off the event in style with a 42-mile-long drive for vintage and modern tractors.
“It’s a very common thing for these shows,” Krause said. “Some tractor drives in Wisconsin and Minnesota go up to 800 miles.”
Krause figures between 30 and 50 tractors will participate, with tractors coming in from as far away as Colorado and Iowa.
The tractor drive will leave Berthusen Park in Lynden at 9 a.m. The tractors will travel from Lynden to Birch Bay State Park, where they will stop for lunch before proceeding past the Waterslides in Birch Bay, through downtown Blaine, up to Peace Arch Park and finally back to Berthusen Park. Two county sheriff’s officers will be on hand to provide motorcycle escorts and direct traffic.
The entire trip, with breaks, is expected to take between six and seven hours. Krause does not anticipate any problems holding up traffic.
“These tractors only go about 10 miles per hour,” Krause said. “And with the sheriff’s escort, there shouldn’t be any problems.”
The entry fee is $25 per tractor, which covers the costs of the sheriff escort and state park fees. An additional $10 will be charged for any other vehicles left in the park, unless a driver has a Washington state Discover Pass.
Hosted by the Puget Sound Antique Tractor and Machinery Association, the Gathering of the Orange will feature raffle prizes, keynote speakers and tractor pulls. The price of admission is $7 for adults, $5 for seniors and $3 for children 8–12. For more information on the event, visit psatma.com