John Deere enthusiasts should mark their calendars for March 18-21 for the 11th Gathering of the Green Conference in the Quad Cities. The conference site at the RiverCenter in downtown Davenport, Iowa, will transform into a county fair atmosphere, with elaborate displays that focus on the 2020 theme, “It’s Fair Time.”
Ken Reese, board member and founding member of the Gathering of the Green, says, “The Gathering has always been a reunion and the 2020 theme will remind us of simpler times when friends and families gathered annually at the county fair. It was an event you didn’t miss!”
In addition, county fairs were an important place for Deere & Co. and John Deere dealers to exhibit and market their latest equipment in the 1930s to 1970s.
Conference details are available at gatheringofthegreen.com.
Organizers of the event are all volunteers, members of one of four tractor clubs in the Quad Cities region: the Deer Valley Collectors, Illinois Valley Two-Cylinder Club, North Eastern Illinois Twin Cycle Club and Northwest Illinois Deer Collectors.
Lineup of speakers
Mara Sovey Downing, vice president, Global Brand Management & Corporate Communications for Deere, is president of the John Deere Foundation. She will welcome attendees to the opening evening reception March 18.
Ken Buell, a retired Deere & Co. employee, will speak March 19 and share the marketing that county fairs offered the company. He’ll tell about the evolution of how the hobby of restoring these antique tractors and implements has evolved.
Don McKinley, a member of the Deere Valley Club and chief storyteller at every Gathering of the Green, will speak March 21 at the closing banquet. Involved in the hobby since attending the first “Gathering,” he’ll share stories on the history of the conference and the friendships and bonds that are created through getting involved with the hobby of restoring antique equipment.
“This is something that stays with you for a lifetime, and I want to see the next generation be mentored to get involved in the hobby,” he says. “I’ll share some ideas on how we can pass along this quality of life to younger people.”
Workshops planned for collectors
The Gathering of the Green offers more than 60 workshops. Planners are also seeking more John Deere equipment from the 1930s through 1970s (including associated lines such as Brillion, Heider, and/or Letz, etc.) to display as part of the “It’s Fair Time” theme.
Those who have this equipment must be willing to bring items to Davenport on March 15-22. Contact Ed Vieth, display chair at email@example.com or 563-271-3551 to be considered.