Jammin’ in Jeff

Posted 9/20/23

JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — If you walked around during this year’s annual Jeff Jamboree, all you heard folks saying was “It’s a perfect day for a parade!”

The popular …

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Jammin’ in Jeff


JEFFERSONVILLE, NY — If you walked around during this year’s annual Jeff Jamboree, all you heard folks saying was “It’s a perfect day for a parade!”

The popular event, held this year on September 16, was created by Jeffersonville JEMS (Jeffersonville Enhances More of Sullivan), established in about 2006 as a “volunteer beatification group responsible for the flowers and many events in Jeffersonville,” as it says on Facebook. 

This year’s edition drew a crowd of several thousand people, from local residents to city folks—those newcomers to the Upper Delaware Valley.

It featured a tractor parade that showcased examples of America’s enduring power to harness machinery to feed its diverse citizens. The parade was led by Grand Marshall Herm Herbert with his vintage John Deere farm tractor.

Also onboard were numerous craft vendors, a couple of tarot card readers, a display of junior fighter badges by Protection Hose Co. No. 1, horse-drawn carriage rides courtesy of Butch and Liz Peters, and the music of Little Sparrow, Carol Smith and Aldo Troiani.

Jack Costello was in fine feathered form. Dressed as a large yellow duck, he caught the spotlight during the annual duck race, which started at the Schadt Memorial Bridge spanning Callicoon Creek as it flows downstream toward the Delaware River.

“We’re trying to keep the community involved, and get people coming into Jeffersonville,” said Sue Bodenstein, JEMS president. “It’s a spot to go with family and have a good time.” 

Taking a break from announcing the tractor parade, Town of Callicoon Supervisor Tom Bose, said of the importance of tractors in modern day farming, “They are as important as horses used to be.”

As the owner of eight tractors, including a 1954 Farmall 300 that his 90-year-old father Sonny was scheduled to drive in the parade, Bose said, “If we reverted back to horses, we’d get a whole lot less work done. There are days you wish you could turn the clock back, but I think I’ll keep my tractors.”

After the tractor parade, several of the owners and drivers returned to the staging area at Uncle Jim’s Community Campground to talk tractors, including Joe Herbert, proprietor of Dick’s Auto Sales, and Dave Weiss, a dairy farmer from Briscoe, just a cow’s toss from Jeffersonville.

Herbert was given the 1959 John Deere 730 a few years back by “Uncle Jim” Hughson, and over time, totally restored the old workhorse tractor.

“It was in a lot of pieces,” Herbert said, noting that he replaced “everything… the paint, tire rims.”

Weiss was the tail gunner in the tractor parade, taking up almost both lanes on the town’s main drag with his 2012 John Deere 7200R, a huge machine that looked like something out of Mad Max.

Leaning on one of the tractor’s massive tires, the 74-year-old farmer recounted going to school as a youngster. 

Back in 1954, while in kindergarten, “I was kind of pretty shy, and after I ran away twice, and they started locking the doors.”

Earlier in the day, the First Presbyterian Church in Jeffersonville served a pancake breakfast, and while there, Weiss was recognized by Elinore Laire, whom he recalled from his kindergarten days.

“I hadn’t seen her in 70 years,” he said. “She was a senior, and on the way home I used to fall asleep on her lap… It was funny; she remembered after all these years.”

The graduate of the Jeffersonville High School Class of 1967 said of his experience at the local school, “I never failed once, but I was a bad boy a couple of times.

“We had this teacher from Youngsville in English class, who taught out of the Reader’s Digest,” recounted Weiss. “That was the whole class. You had to know the stories and the vocabulary. One day he told the class to get up one by one and tell what they liked about the Reader’s Digest, and with my sense of humor, I told the class I liked the coupons about toothpaste, soap and stuff for my mother.”

After the expected trip to the principal’s office, “I thought I was going to be in big trouble, but the principal said, ‘I don’t see nothin’ wrong with that. Go back to class.’” 

And with that, Weiss headed back to running his farms, which include beef, dairy and an all-around farm growing hay and corn, plus a sawmill.

But first he said, “I’m working like a government-rented mule. Down South many years ago, they used to give the sharecroppers mules to work with, and because the mules were from the government, they would work the hell out of them before giving them back.”

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