John Deere's 100th Anniversary Celebration
on Friday, May 25, 2018
John Deere is celebrating 100 years of tractor business in Waterloo and on June 15 and 16, the company will host a free, community celebration with displays, demonstrations, activities, live music and more at the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum, Waterloo’s Expo Plaza and the Waterloo Convention Center .
In 1918, John Deere acquired the Waterloo Gasoline Engine Company. Today, the company has six plants located throughout the Cedar Valley (Cedar Falls and Waterloo) and employees more than 5,000 people. (Source: Waterloo Courier, March 15, 2018, by Pat Kinney).
Festival activities will highlight and showcase their tractor innovation over the past 100 years. At the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum (located on the original site of the Waterloo Gasoline and Engine Company), visitors will find working demonstrations including a blacksmith, hay press and grain elevator. For the kids, there will be a kids’ tractor pull, pedal tractor obstacle course and a farm-to-table play area.
At the Expo Plaza and nearby Waterloo Convention Center, there will be more activities for the kids, a John Deere Retiree Zone, UAW Local 838 Display and an innovation showcase. Live music will also be located at the expo plaza with performances by Stackhouse, Chasin’ Mason, “Those Guys” and the Waterloo Municipal Band. Musical headliner will be country music artist (and Grand Ole Opry inductee), Joe Diffie, on Saturday at 6:00 pm. One of his top 10 singles is “John Deere Green.”
There will also be roughly 20 food vendors located in this area. And, don’t forget about visiting local gems in this area like Basil Pizza and SingleSpeed Brewing.
Between all three venues, there will be 100 tractors and engines on display and span several product lines including international products, many of which that are privately owned.
The festival is anticipating 50,000 visitors (with some traveling from as far as the Netherlands). And don’t worry about parking. Guests can find on-street parking, use the parking ramp or park under the overpasses in downtown Waterloo. There will also be a trolley running from the museum to the downtown location and parking will be available at the museum as well at the Drivetrain Operations Parking lot at 300 West Commercial Street.
Celebrate John Deere throughout the year with a visit to the John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum. It’s open seven days a week at no charge. Their website will confirm holiday dates and you’ll find information about their museum store.
Factory tours are also available throughout the year and allow you to see behind the scenes of how tractors and engines are brought to life. By reservation only, tour guides take you through each stage of the manufacturing process. Choose from Drivetrain Operations (319-292-7668, 300 West Commercial Street, Waterloo), Engine Works (319-292-5347, 3800 West Ridgeway Avenue, Waterloo) and Tractor Cab Assembly Operations (319-292-7668, 3500 East Donald Street, Waterloo).
For more information about participation requirements for factory tours and to schedule a tour, visit their website, call the numbers listed above, email JDWLOOVisitorService@JohnDeere.com or call toll free at 888-453-5804.
There is a lot to celebrate and the John Deere Journal also highlights those accomplishments on their website at “John Deere Tractors at 100, The Legend.” Visit their website HERE.
If you want to find more Things to Do, Places to Eat & Drink and Places to Stay while you’re in Cedar Falls or Waterloo, visit or call the Cedar Falls Visitor Center at 800-845-1955 or at 6510 Hudson Road. The visitor center is open seven days a week.
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Many thanks to Megan Zuniga for providing information for this blog post.
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