"Gathering of the Green"

A biennial nationwide conference for
John Deere collectors, restorers & enthusiasts.

PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS EVENT TOOK PLACE IN MARCH OF 2016. ALL OF THIS INFORMATION IS STILL HERE SO THAT YOU CAN SEE WHAT YOU MISSED!

TRIPS & TOURS - 2016

These are the highlights      Hi, I'm Meli, your tour guide. Below are the schedule and brief descriptions of the trips and tours.

IMPORTANT Information related to tours of John Deere Factories:

  • Tour participants must be 13 years of age or older
  • Participants must wear closed toed shoes - no sandals allowed
  • No cameras, videos or cell phones permitted inside the factories.
  • Due to changes in factory schedules, tours are subject to cancellation
  • There is no charge to tour John Deere factories but the “Gathering” will apply a charge for transportation.


Wednesday, March 16

Dave Cobler Collection / John Deere Ottumwa Works – Ottumwa, IA. (This tour is sold out.) This tour will take you to the John Deere Ottumwa Works, where they manufacture round balers, small square balers, pull-type forage harvesters, mower conditioners and self-propelled windrowers. This is the location where Joseph Dain founded Dain Manufacturing in 1881. It was purchased by John Deere & Company about 30 years later. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

The Cobler family of Ottumwa, IA are collectors of vintage John Deere farm tractors and equipment. Dave and his family not only collect, but they set aside a part of their farm to use these vintage machines as they were intended to be used when purchased new in the 20’s, 30’s, 40’s, 50’s and 60’s. Dave and his family have some of the nicest vintage tractors and equipment known to exist. These machines do not get rest in a museum; the Coblers put them to work.

The coach bus departs from the RiverCenter at 7:30 AM and will return at approximately 5:00 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 50. Cost for the tour transportation and lunch is $48.00.

John Deere Harvester Works – East Moline, IL. (This tour is sold out.) With approximately 90 acres under roof, this factory is the largest, most modern combine manufacturing facility in the world. It has been producing products since 1913. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 12:00 Noon for a 12:30 PM tour, and will return at approximately 2:45 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

Wallace Garden Center – Bettendorf, IA. The company roots go back to the 50’s. It has grown to the multi-store company it is today by providing top quality products and service for over 60 years. Your visit will include a session on container gardening, tour of their large Bettendorf location, and some time to explore on your own.

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 1:00 PM for a 1:30 tour, and will return at approximately 3:45 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation is $10.00.

Milan Parts Distribution Center – Milan, IL. This the first time we have been able to offer a tour of the huge John Deere Parts Distribution Center in Milan, IL. Any part we in the Midwest order from our John Deere dealer comes through this huge distribution center in Milan. It is the largest distribution center in the Deere system. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 1:00 PM for a 1:30 tour, and will return at approximately 3:30 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 34. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

Thursday, March 17

Wyffels Hybrids / John Deere Historic Site – Atkinson / Grand Detour, IL. (This tour is sold out.) Bill Wyffels, Sr. started in the seed business in the mid 40’s producing and selling seed oats. In the 50’s with oats production on the decline, Bill entered into the seed corn business. Through research and hard work, Wyffels Hybrids are top producers of seed corn today. We will tour their Atkinson, IL facility where shelling, drying, grading, packaging, research and distribution take place.

John Deere’s Historic Site in Grand Detour, IL is the location where John Deere forged his first steel plow that scoured in the rich prairie soil. Deere & Co. has done a beautiful preservation of the site where Deere lived and worked. You can watch a smithy at work in a recreated blacksmith shop, tour the Deere home, visit the history building or walk about the beautiful grounds. Brian Holst, Site Manager, has been upgrading and enhancing the site over the past few years to make it a “must visit” site.

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 8:15 AM, and will return at approximately 3:45 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 50. Cost for the tour transportation and lunch is $44.00.

Quilting and Sewing in the River Valley. We will take you to a quilting shop in Dewitt, IA where you will learn more about the hobby of quilting and see new products available. Then on to beautiful Fulton, IL for a visit to a second quilt shop and another view of the quilting hobby. When finished with that shop you will be on your own for lunch at one of Fulton’s unique restaurants. The last stop on your trip will be to a sewing center in Clinton, IA. They not only sell the new high-tech machines, but also have classes on how to do new and different things with your sewing machine or serger.

The coach bus departs from the RiverCenter at 8:00 AM, and will return at approximately 3:30 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 50. Cost for the tour transportation is $30.00 (lunch is on your own).

John Deere Seeding Group – Moline, IL. (This tour is sold out.) Corn planters ranging in size from 6 to 48 rows are manufactured at this facility, which also serves as the business center for John Deere corn planters, box drills and air seeders. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 7:30 AM for an 8:00 tour, and will return at approximately 10:00 AM. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

John Deere Harvester Works – East Moline, IL. (This tour is sold out.) With approximately 90 acres under roof, this factory is the largest, most modern combine manufacturing facility in the world. It has been producing products since 1913. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 9:30 AM for a 10:00 tour, and will return at approximately 12:00 Noon. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

John Deere Davenport Works – Davenport, IA. (This tour is sold out.) This facility began production in 1974. Today the factory manufactures articulated dump trucks, wheel loaders, motor graders, feller bunchers, log skidders and cabs. It is difficult to get a tour of this facility, so don’t miss this opportunity to go through this outstanding Deere Construction & Forestry Division plant. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 12:30 PM for a 1:00 tour, and will return at approximately 3:00 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 88. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

Friday, March 18

Ken Kass Collection / John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum – Dunkerton / Waterloo, IA. (This tour is sold out.) Ken Kass probably has more Waterloo Boy tractors than anyone else, in addition to many other low production John Deere tractors. He also collects large prairie tractors like the Russell, Big Four and Rumely, just to name a few. Ken’s collecting doesn’t stop there; he also has an extensive collection of rare and unusual hit-n-miss engines. With two large sheds, one smaller shed and a museum building there is a lot to see on this tour.

The recently opened John Deere Tractor & Engine Museum is the result of hard work by past and present employees. This museum is located on the site where John Deere manufactured the two-cylinder tractors. The museum focuses on the John Deere factories in Waterloo area, and the history they have made with the help of their workers. It shows how Deere grew in the Cedar River Valley, which at one point even included the rerouting of a river to allow for manufacturing expansion.

The coach bus departs the RiverCenter at 7:00 AM, arriving in the Waterloo area about 9:45 AM, and will return at approximately 5:45 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 50. Cost for the tour transportation and lunch is $51.00.

Exploring the Stores & Shops of Galena – Galena, IL. Historic Galena offers art galleries, antique stores, gift shops and many locations to enjoy lunch with a friend. These highlights await you on this trip to this beautiful northwest Illinois town. Your bus will drop off and pick up near Historic Galena’s shopping area.

The coach bus departs from the RiverCenter at 9:15 AM, arriving in Galena about 10:30 AM. The bus will depart Galena at 2:00 PM for the return trip to the RiverCenter, arriving at approximately 3:15 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 50. Cost for the tour transportation is $29.00 (lunch is on your own).

John Deere Harvester Works – East Moline, IL. (This tour is sold out.) With approximately 90 acres under roof, this factory is the largest, most modern combine manufacturing facility in the world. It has been producing products since 1913. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 9:30 AM for a 10:00 tour, and will return at approximately 12:00 Noon. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

Milan Parts Distribution Center – Milan, IL. (This tour is sold out.) This the first time we have been able to offer a tour of the huge John Deere Parts Distribution Center in Milan, IL. Any part we in the Midwest order from our John Deere dealer comes through this huge distribution center in Milan. It is the largest distribution center in the Deere system. (John Deere tour policy applies.)

The Friday afternoon John Deere Milan Parts Distribution Center Tour is sold out. We’ve added a Friday morning tour. The tour is also available on Wednesday afternoon, if an afternoon tour works best for your schedule.

Friday Tour #2 (This is an added tour, now sold out.) Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 9:30 AM for a 10:00 tour, and will return at approximately 11:45 AM. Maximum tour capacity is 34. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

Friday Tour #1 (This tour is sold out.) Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 1:00 PM for a 1:30 tour, and will return at approximately 3:30 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 34. Cost for the tour transportation is $6.00.

Saturday, March 19

Cinnamon Ridge Farms – Donahue, IA. (This tour is sold out.) This unique farm is operated by the John and Joan Maxwell family. To say the Maxwell’s are progressive farmers is an understatement. They have achieved what many corn farmers seek—over 300 bushels per acre yields. John will host you in his home and tell you about their farming operation and give you a tour of their 250 Jersey cow milking operation. Most of you know of larger milking operations, but this one is completely automated. The cow enters, is milked and leaves without any humans around. This tour will be an educational experience you will long remember.

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 8:30 AM for a 9:15 tour, and will return at approximately 11:15 AM. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour and transportation is $20.00.

Kenny Bush Farms – Milan, IL. (This tour is sold out.) This tour is back by popular demand. Kenny Bush has a history of being one of the farmers that worked with both the Deere Seeding Group and Harvester Works experimenting with and testing Deere planters and combines. On the Bush Farm, near the site where the Rock Island tractor was made, Kenny and his family have acquired a large collection of almost anything you can think of. Kenny even purchased the contents of the one room school he attended and recreated it in his museum.

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 8:45 AM for a 9:00 tour, and will return at approximately 10:45 AM. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation is $14.00.

West Kimberly Mall Luncheon and Shopping – Davenport, IA. Ladies this is the day to leave old what’s his name for his last look thru the vendor hall and his visit with Tom or Fred. Get on the bus and head for the Kimberly Mall for some shopping, lunch and more shopping. With 18,000 square feet of vendor area, there must be something you can’t live without. Enjoy lunch prepared by the Kimberly Mall staff (included), and make some new friends.

Bus departs from the RiverCenter at 9:00 AM for a 10:00 arrival at the mall, and will return at approximately 2:00 PM. Maximum tour capacity is 45. Cost for the tour transportation and lunch is $25.00.

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