A parade of tractors will cruise across southern Warren County Sept. 8 on a mission to collect canned goods and donations for area food pantries.
This is the first year that tractors will travel through Warren County as part of the annual Knights of Columbus Journey for Charity, which has been going in Franklin County for 12 years. The event this year is organized by seven participating Knights of Columbus Councils.
During the cruise, service vehicles traveling with the tractors will be collecting nonperishable food items or cash donations from spectators to help food pantries stock their shelves. A share of the food and donations raised will go to the Southern Warren and St. Charles County Food Pantry in Marthasville, said Knights of Columbus member Rick Mueller.
Tractors in Warren County will travel along a northern route, before combining with a southern fleet in Washington. Mueller said although local organizers aren’t sure how many local tractor drivers will participate, they’re estimating anywhere from 20 to 50 tractors.
Mueller said any driver can participate as long as they’re at least 16 years old and have a valid driver’s license. There is a registration fee of $40 per tractor, which includes a T-shirt or cap, barbecue meal and transportation to the starting point.
Those interested in driving a tractor on the north route can contact Mueller at 636-433-5400.
“The reason we added that north route is because we’ve had a lot of requests from the people to the north of us,” said John Jasper, Union Knights of Columbus, who has helped organize the event from the beginning. “This year we have the new bridge, so now we can get over the river in a safe manner.”
As always, the event will focus on collecting canned goods to donate to local food pantries.
“It’s really expanded,” Jasper said. “It’s a family day. It’s a day for the members and a big day for the community. It’s just a fun day. We also get to help out those who are in need. We reach out and touch a lot of people during the day.”
The northern route will begin with a blessing of the fleet at 9:30 a.m. at St. Ignatius Church in Concord Hill.
At 10:15, the fleet will depart from St. Ignatius. They will drive to Highway 94, travel east to Highway 47, then north to Pecan Street in Marthasville. From there the tractors will cross through the city to St. Paul’s United Church of Christ.
At 10:55, the north fleet will begin its second leg, driving Highway D to Boone Monument Road and then traveling south to Dutzow. They will travel on Highway 94 south of Dutzow to St. Vincent de Paul Church.
After a 40 minute break, the fleet will proceed on Highway 94 to Immaculate Conception Church in Augusta, and after regrouping there will drive to Church Street in Augusta.
At about 1 p.m., the fleet plans to travel through the north end of Augusta and circle south to Augusta Bottom Road. From there, the tractor cruise will travel all the way back to Highway 47, and then turn south to cross the Missouri River bridge to Washington.
The tractors will arrive at the Mercy Doctor’s Building around 1:55 p.m. and await the southern Journey for Charity Fleet. They will then proceed together to the Knights of Columbus hall in Washington.
The total trip from St. Ignatius to the Mercy Doctor’s Building is over 26 miles, organizers said. Donations will be accepted anywhere along the route.
There will be a barbecue, pedal tractor pull and tractors on display afterword at the Knights of Columbus hall in Washington.