Posted on December 18th, 2014 by Rebecca Thompson
This season, I embarked upon a holiday event that was a new experience for me. Out in the remote backwoods of Polk County, between Frostproof and Fort Meade, is the home of the Florida Flywheelers Antique Engine Club. This non-profit club began in 1972 and is made up of members who share the combined interest of restoring, preserving and exhibiting antique internal combustion engines, steam engines, antique tractors and autos and other labor saving devices from the by-gone years. The Flywheelers host events throughout the year including the annual Antique Engine & Tractor “Swap Meet”, Antique Engine & Tractor Show and Fall Fuel Up, as well as Christmas in the Village.
The two-weekend Christmas in the Village event took the Florida Flywheelers about four weekends to decorate. It’s an intriguing experience for guests like me who attend. You’ll start your Christmas in the Village journey on some sort of trailers with seating (there were several different styles from a flat-bed with bench seats to an old trolley from Boardwalk and Baseball) pulled by a tractor. Most of the tractors also have a narrator on them. You’ll journey through the many acres learning about the village and gazing upon thousands of Christmas lights as they shine in the dark of the night. I even spotted a man dressed up in Christmas lights! Throughout the journey, each tractor group makes five fun stops; the first to receive candy canes; the second to take photo with Santa and Mrs. Claus; the third for cookies and hot chocolate; and the final and “most awesome one of all” according to a kid on my tractor ride for cider, eggnog, cookies and music. All of this was at no cost.
I thoroughly enjoyed my experience “in the Village” and even got to talk to some of the members and hear about vehicles they built from scratch with parts from a junkyard or about which tractors they owned or how they camp there during the December weekends and enjoy sharing stories by the campfire.
You can enjoy the opportunity as well! The final Christmas event dates remaining this year are coming up on Friday, December 19 and Saturday, December 20 from 6:00 p.m.-9:00 p.m. The Flywheelers collect toy, canned food and monetary donations for the community, so be sure to pick up a toy or some canned items or grab some cash before you stop by.