BLACKFOOT, Idaho — From now on, Julie Ann Morris anticipates dressing up large agricultural equipment will be part of the Halloween tradition in this Eastern Idaho community, and more of its children will choose farm-themed costumes.
Morris, a service writer with the AGCO dealer Agri-Service, approached officials at other Blackfoot agricultural businesses in mid-October to find support for a new event, which she called Tractor Treat.
Agri-Service hosted the inaugural Tractor Treat from 4 to 6 p.m. on Oct. 30, with plans to rotate the event among the various participants into the future.
Local businesses including Bingham Cooperative, Spudnik Equipment, AgriSource, Wada Farms, PRB Feed & Oil, Bingham County Implement and Mickelsen Construction sent representatives and decorated equipment to the Agri-Service parking lot, where they hosted games and handed out candy — or, in the case of Wada Farms, Easy-Baker potatoes.
Organizers awarded a prize to the child with the best agriculture-themed costume.
Morris said she was amazed by the interest from other businesses when she and Melonie Fisher, a regional parts manager with Agri-Service, began knocking on doors.
“Some of us are competitors on any given day,” Morris said. “It helps us all remember that we are all partners in this community.”
Morris said Tractor Treat is modeled after trunk or treats, often hosted by churches and involving parking cars in a lot to dispense candy in a safe environment.
Tish Dahman, executive director of the Greater Blackfoot Area Chamber of Commerce, helped set up signs to promote the event.
“The Blackfoot merchants haven’t been active in putting together a Halloween event for children. That’s been left to the various churches and schools,” Dahmen said. “To see our agricultural businesses step up to fill that void — to see them work together — is really exciting.”
Dahmen said the unique concept for the Halloween event also speaks to the importance of agriculture in the local economy.
“It celebrates the identity of the Blackfoot community because we’re an agricultural-based community,” Dahmen said. “It celebrates our lifestyle and our culture.”
Though the focus is on giving back to the community, Agri-Service Blackfoot store manager Rob Fisher said Tractor Treat also presents a chance to show off the store to those who may have missed an open house in July. Fisher said Agri-Service opened its 12th location in a trailer in Blackfoot last October and finished a permanent facility this summer.
For Tractor Treat, Agri-Service put a funny face on a combine and converted a parts truck into a witch’s hat, utilized for a ring-toss game.
Travis Sessions, Manager of Bingham County Implement, a John Deere dealer, sent a utility tractor and a “smushed” dummy beneath a loader. He and his sales associate chose American Gothic-themed costumes, and they brought brochures on their equipment in case any visitors had questions.
“Even though we’re competitors, we’re working hand-in-hand,” Sessions said. “This population really appreciates community support, and the more you can show, the better.”
Tyler Hawker, petroleum manager at Bingham Co-op, helped transform a company trailer into a massive spider hanging over hay bales and dry-ice fog.
“A lot of times, we miss these opportunities to network, and work together and socialize,” Harker said.
***From the Capital Press http://www.capitalpress.com/RuralLife/20151102/blackfoot-ag-companies-host-first-tractor-treat