Dyersville is known for the Field of Dreams but this weekend, the northeast Iowa community is the farm toy capitol of the world.
Thousands of toy tractors and a wide array of farm implements are on display — and for sale — as part of the National Farm Toy Show, which has an international following. Wendi Larson, of Toy Farmer Magazine, says vendors and customers come from all over North America and as far away as Germany to admire and collect the mighty, metal models.
“We’ve got the cast iron things, we’ve got the old Tru-Scale tractors, then we’ve got up to things that have just been produced this year, so a little bit of everything,” Larson says. “We always say we sell memories, everything is, ‘I used to drive that tractor, I need to have that.'” The show is being held at the National Farm Toy Museum, which boasts the world’s largest farm toy collection.
Larson says you don’t have to spend a lot of money to start collecting toy tractors, but it can quickly become an expensive obsession.
“We’ve got tractors as little as 20 bucks. We’ve got tractors that are, oh, a couple of thousand dollars so it depends on what your interest is, and it depends on how much you’re willing to spend,” Larson says. “There’s a deal if you can find it, and yet there’s a lot of good stuff that is worth the money.”
The show features 220 vendors at a total of 440 tables that fill the cavernous space with easily several thousand tractors. Collectors and vendors return year after year, enjoying the displays, the conversations, and the continuing search for that one rare tractor.
“We’ve been in business for 44 years and people renew their contract every year so they get to be in the show again the next year,” Larson says. “The only way someone gives up a table is if, and I hate to say it, if they die. This is a show where you never give up your table. You only get two and they’re very coveted.”
The show runs today, Saturday and Sunday.