State Fairâ??s Pink Tractor makes a statement, and so does its owner

Lillian Foster is an independent spirit, to put it mildly, and sheâ??s helped put a unique spin to an antique tractor group thatâ??s a big part of the State Fair.

The tractors, which are vintage 1975 or older, are parked in their own display area near the Beef Barn. They get lots of looks, especially daily at 2 p.m. when they crank up the tractors. Some are even hand cranked, and thatâ??s part of the charm. The most electronics that these machines have, is in their headlights.

â??They change the spark plugs, and its fixed. No electronics. You don't have to plug it in to diagnose it. It's simple,â?? says Mike Bendura, superintendent of the tractor exhibit.

At the parking area, the pink tractor gets a lot of attention.

â??Every little girl likes her picture taken with it,â?? says Foster. â??Big girls like their pictures taken too. Some of the men like it, too.

Lillian is passionate about her pink tractor, which didnâ??t come from her Red Creek farm.

â??They wouldn't let me use any that were at home, so I bought this one from an older gentlemen and said it's mine. I can do what a wanna with it,â?? says Foster.

That was a couple years ago. Her son painted the John Deere green machine pink. Her daughter-in-law painted the wheel rims into green and pink flowers.

â??I just wanted to do somethinâ?? different,â?? she says.

Most nights, Foster drives the tractor in the State Fair 6 p.m. parade. When sheâ??s not there, some of the men in the group pitch in (one even dressed as a woman one year).

Foster's not the only woman standout in the tractor group. In the nightly parade, there was a wagon for the â??Antique Tractor Widows.â??

â??In a lot of instances, they were sitting in the tent while their husbands were out with the tractors,â?? says Bendura. "Before we knew it there was a wagon, and they were coming along with us. They call themselves the antique tractor widows.â??

The tractor owners have a big gathering at The Fair, but theyâ??re also at other antique engine shows and the Farm Days in Seneca Falls.

At the Fair, you donâ??t have to belong to a club to exhibit (the Fairâ??s website has application information). Many however do belong to year round organizations including the CNY Antique Tractor Club and say that, as much as talking engines and tractor models, the camaraderie makes their hobby worthwhile.