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John Deere celebrated 175th Saturday

May 25, 2012

Ray Lahlum standing next to his 1950 John Deere B tractor.

The Winter Show building looked a little more green and yellow on Saturday as John Deere turned 175, and John Deere Seeding Group of Valley City celebrated with a party open to the entire community.

The celebration featured entertainment for visitors in the afternoon and a employee appreciation dinner to end the evening.

John Deere was started in 1837 with a one-man blacksmith shop, where John Deere himself created a self-scouring plow. John Deere’s website reads, “For 175 years we’ve been working to protect the environment, promote the safety of our employees and customers, and support communities.”

Jeff Kennedy, employee relations manager who helped plan the celebration, said they expected that over 1,000 people attended throughout the day.

Kennedy said the event “far-exceeded our expectations. The community really showed up and turned out.”

The tractor show and live blacksmith demo were two of the most popular events, Kennedy said.

Ray Lahlum and his wife Bonnie were two of many locals showing off their John Deere equipment in the main arena of the Winter Show building. “It’s anything old to new, privately-owned tractors in the area,” Bonnie said. Ray was proudly displaying his self-described “John Deere B” 1950 tractor and answer any questions from visitors.

While Deere enthusiasts enjoyed the evolutionary display of equipment, kids enjoyed face painting and airbrush tattoos done by local face painting company, Thomas Face Painting. The company was started in Valley City and is currently based in West Fargo. “It was great being able to face paint back in my hometown,” owner Thomas Huus said.

Children also enjoyed playing in inflatable bounce houses and slides provided by Incredible Events, an events company specializing in corporate events. Terrence Murphy who is an employee at Incredible Events said that the green and yellow colored inflatables were special just for John Deere, a major client of theirs.

The celebration ended with an employee appreciation dinner, catered by Incredible Events.

“We look forward to stay involved with the community, Kennedy said, excited about the future of John Deere.

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