Half Century of Progress 2019!

Half Century
Field Work during the 2017 Half Century of Progress

In less than a month, the Half Century of Progress will be here!  You will be glad to know that in spite of the wet spring, the crops did get planted thanks to the Harms family!  

The Half Century of Progress has been referred to as “The Greatest Show on Earth”.

While the circus has that motto all  sewed up, when you are talking tractor shows at least here in the US, it is certainly true.  The Half Century of Progress is the Mega Vintage farm show in fact, it is advertised as the “Worlds Largest Vintage Working Farm Show.”


This year’s show will be held August 22-25, 2019 at the Rantoul Air Port on the former Chanute Air Force Base.  The theme of this year’s show is Harvest Brigade.  Dust off all your old harvest equipment and get ready to head to the field 1969 or earlier style!  You are encouraged to bring any type of harvest equipment.  Any brand in any shape is welcome!


The Half Century of Progress is a vintage farm show held before the Farm Progress Show. The first Half Century of Progress Show was held on the weekend before the 50th anniversary Farm Progress Show near Henning, Ill., in 2003. The show celebrates equipment 50 years or later and that leaves a lot of room for choices.

I love to see the old iron moving up and down the runways in the parade and in the field.  As Max Armstrong said when I asked for a quote for my Farm World story, “I’m looking forward to seeing more unusual equipment than ever. There is always something that makes your jaw drop. You’ll turn to the guy next to you and say, ‘I’ve never seen one of those before!’

There is always something new and different at the Half Century show.  Every time I go I see something I never saw before at the show.  You would think there would come a time that that wasn’t true, but so far it is not the case!

Highlights of the Show

There are so many things to see and do at the Half Century of Progress.  Each morning at eight, there will be the Flag Raising featuring America’s Largest Flying Flag. What a sight to behold!

On Thursday, Max Armstrong will lead his tractor drive.  You can no register for this cool event.  Go to the schedule section of the website you can download the registration form.  Your tractor needs to be able to go at least 10 miles per hour and the cost is $50 to participate.  

Farm wife and presenter Jolene Brown has been added to the schedule.  Ms. Brown will be providing two fun filled, but informative presentations “Holy Crap! I Married a Farmer!” and “Stop the Fighting on the Way to the Funeral Home”.  These presentations from this award winning speaker will be on both Thursday and Friday.   

On Saturday, Max Armstrong and Orion Samuelson will be back on stage.  Each day visitors can enjoy the daily parade and watch the field demonstrations of Broom Corn, Corn Shelling, Bean Combining and Field Tillage.  If you bring equipment, you can be part of the action!

Plan Ahead

While most reservations in Rantoul are already taken, you might try Champaign. The camp grounds are full, but dry camping is available. Check the website for details.

Also, golf carts are going fast as well, call 866-275-2742 to reserve a golf cart. Yes, you can bring your own tractor, golf cart, tractor etc. just know there is a $30.00 fee (good for all days of the show) in addition to the admission fee. At the volunteer The cost to attend the show is $15.00 for adults per day, or $30.00 for a four-day pass. If kids or grandkids are coming along, there is a minimum age of 16 allowed to drive both golf carts and equipment on the grounds.

Note:  If you have a drone and plan on using it to take pictures know that you must have permission before operating it on the airport grounds.


For more information, check out http://www.halfcenturyofprogress.com/. During the show, tune into 89.9FM for information this is the official station of the Half Century Progress show!

Enjoy other blogs about past Half Century of Progress shows!

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