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Antique tractors gather at Bonney Bright’s Farm in Virginia Beach to turn rows of dirt during Plow Day

Johnnie Mizell of South Mills, N.C., is seen on a John Deere 4020 with the help of Johnnie Mizell III, who is 3. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Ed. — This archived story originally appeared in the Friday, Nov. 29, print edition.

BY JULIE TAYLORCREEDS — Plowing a field might seem like a solitary activity, but that was far from the case at Bonney Bright’s Farm during Plow Day.

By 9 a.m. on a chilly morning, Plow Day was already well underway, with over a dozen antique tractors of various sizes, makes and models turning over dirt at Bright’s farm in Creeds.

The Saturday, Nov. 23, event was originally scheduled for the previous weekend, but had been postponed due to poor weather.

Bill Jennings, also known as “Red Bibs Bill,” had come all the way from Elm City, N.C, with his International Harvester 2+2, as well as a 1952 McCormick Farmall Cub.

Wearing his signature red overalls, Jennings explained that he is a member of the Albemarle Antique Power Association, which had helped plan the event. He enjoyed getting the chance to put his antique tractor to work, and he said the best part of Plow Day was the time spent socializing with other tractor buffs, both young and old.

“This is a great turnout,” Jennings said. “Bonney Bright is a great host.”

Bright was thrilled to be introducing Plow Day, an event that is popular in the Midwest, to rural Virginia Beach residents. After having to postpone the event, Bright had been worried that not many people would come, but he was happy to say that he had been proven wrong.

For Robert Doub, getting to see so many antique tractors in action at the same time was an exciting experience.

“This is a lot of fun,” Doub said. “There are a lot of very rare tractors here.”

As a longtime resident of rural Virginia Beach, Doub was glad to see the agricultural industry being celebrated.

“Virginia Beach has such a rich heritage in agriculture and farming,” he said. “I hope we don’t lose sight of that. Agriculture as an industry is good for Hampton Roads.”

One of the antique tractors at the event was a 1969 John Deere 4020 Diesel, which had recently been refurbished and outfitted with a cab. The tractor, which had taken six months to restore, impressed many Plow Day attendees, including Virginia Beach Mayor Bobby Dyer.

Dyer was a big fan of Plow Day, not only because of the tractors, but also because it showed the strength of community ties among rural Virginia Beach residents.

“I think this was a fantastic exhibition of community collaboration,” Dyer said. “It’s a throwback in time to when community collaboration was neccesary to our survival as a city.”

Community was just as much a part of Plow Day as antique tractors were. For many people, it was that sentiment that made Virginia Beach’s first official Plow Day an enjoyable event.

Lathan Isom Jr., 17, of Chesapeake looks back at the plow while operating a 1969 John Deere 4020 during the Plow Day at Bonney Bright’s Farm in Creeds. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Stanley J. Whitehurst of Pungo is seen operating a John Deere 6030 during the event. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]

Doug Wilkins of Weeksville, N.C., stands while checking a plow pulled by a 1952 John Deere B. He said the Plow Day at Bonney Bright’s Farm in Creeds was a great opportunity. “This is a lot of land to plow,” he said. [John-Henry Doucette/The Princess Anne Independent News]


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