By Camden Staton
Most people have heard of the classic “Trunk or Treat,” which features a spooky scene in the trunk of a car and costumed children come to collect their fair share of candy. Instead of going that route, Wheatland Lutheran Church offered their own spin by combining big tractors and candy.
The pastor of Wheatland Lutheran Church, Chuck Miller, helped set up the event four years ago and it’s still going strong. “It started out on a whim,” He explained. “We decided to play around with the idea that some other churches have used with a ‘Trunk or Treat’ but put a spin on it.” It seemed to be a fit since some members who attend the church own tractors.
On the first year of this event they hosted about 80 people, featured four tractors, and it was mostly exclusive to the church members. Yet, it’s only seemed to grow since then.
“It’s more of a community gathering now,” Miller raves. “It’s more focused around kids getting close to agriculture than getting candy; although they are excited to get candy.” Since their first year they’ve had more opportunities to have this event grow. James River Equipmenteven started donating tractors for the church to use for the day; while neighboring farms lend baby cows and other farm equipment.
For this year’s event, which was held on October 19, the church was able to rent a bouncy house that held loads of dressed up kids who seemed to be having the time of their life. Not far away were hay wagon rides where parents and kids relaxed while taking a slow drive. Many adults enjoyed the set-up of the event. “It’s very contained. It’s easier for parents to keep up with their kids,” Miller explains. “I even saw parents dressed up. Everybody seemed to enjoy the day.”
Although the church puts this on for entertainment purposes in order to provide something cheap for families to do on a Saturday, they also encourage people who come to donate canned foods. This year, they were able to fill two large tractor buckets full of food and those who didn’t bring food, gave money. All of the canned food, along with the proceeds, have already been sent to the Botetourt Food Pantry housed at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church in Fincastle.
Although they have things that they would like to improve upon in the years to come, all of the participants said that they thoroughly enjoy what they’re doing for the community. “It’s an awesome privilege to be in a spot to bring people together from all over,” Miller said. They’ve come far with this event over the past four years and they want to continue to make the event a community staple.