The West Cork Vintage Ploughing and Threshing Association’s Ford 100 Fest, which took place on the ancestral home farm of Henry Ford at Crohane, Ballinascarthy last Sunday was attended by an incredible crowd of approximately 10,000. All monies raised at the gate – more than €30,000 – will now go directly to this year’s chosen charities: Temple Street Children’s Hospital in Dublin; the Alzheimer’s Unit of Clonakilty Hospital; Cancer Connect; and West Cork Rapid Response.
Whilst hard to put an exact figure on the attendance, owner of Ford Farm, Vivian Buttimer, can testify to the 27 surrounding acres of neatly parked cars that gave some suggestion to the numbers inside the gate. “It was incredible,” says Vivian, who is still recovering from the day. “Having been washed out on a previous occasion, I was very worried last Sunday morning, but gradually the sky lifted and continued to do so throughout the day.”
Billed as a great day out for the whole family, the event was sponsored by Henry Ford & Son Limited as a celebration of 100 years of Ford in Ireland. Displays of Ford models going right back to the iconic Model T were hugely popular, as were the Fordson tractors, the first vehicles to be produced at the Cork Ford plant in 1917.
There were also live demonstrations of ploughing, silage cutting, corn cutting, threshing and exhibits of farming from days gone by, whilst a helicopter allowed many a bird’s eye view of the event.
“It all went so smoothly,” says Vivian,” even the cows were on their best behavior in the milking parlour!”
One of his favourite memories from the day though will be the potato harvesting. “After we had the modern machinery harvesting, we had a traditional horse and plough dig a couple of drills and handed out some bags for people to pick up the potatoes if they wished…well a crowd descended – grannies, grandads, women in high heels, it was some sight!”
Vivian is conscious of the huge commitment given by over 100 volunteers, including an army of stewards who helped to keep the traffic flowing safely. “It just wouldn’t have been possible without all that help and I am really overwhelmed with the generosity of people, the vintage club, neighbours who put up with the disruption without complaint, and the whole of Ballinascarthy.”
Vivian is proud of his family heritage but says it is a heritage shared by the whole area. “The Ballinascarthy community takes great pride in our Ford history and it is that community spirit that makes things happen.”