Mike Loureiro brought his 1951 8N Ford tractor out of retirement to mark the occasion.
That occasion was the annual Independence Day in Manteca along North Main Street on Monday morning.
“I planted a lot of sweet potatoes over the years (on that tractor),” said Loureiro, who was joined by family, extended family members, and friends to celebrate his 90th birthday.
His actual birthday is July 7, Thursday, with a big celebration in his honor planned for Saturday, according to daughter Georgiann Rose.
In recent years of attending the Fourth of July event in Manteca, she joked with her father about the family taking part in the parade.
Loureiro’s milestone birthday served as the perfect opportunity.
“I told my dad that he could drive the tractor in the parade while my brother (Sonny) and I rode on the side like when we were kids,” Rose said.
They did exactly that, with Loureiro at the helm and both of his children seated at the side. His haul was that of a trailer carrying his grand children and great-grandchildren.
Rose indicated that getting the old tractor back on the road was met with some minor problems.
“It hadn’t been in operation for years,” she said. “We had to put in a new radiator and sparkplugs.”
Loureiro had the Ford tractor for 50 years, calling it his pride and joy. During that time, he used it to plant produce on his 20 acres of land for 14 of those years.
He’s had other tractors since then.
Loureiro still tends to the farm located east of Manteca. It was there in which he was born and raised.
He’s still kept busy irrigating his vineyards.
Meanwhile, Loureiro’s antique tractor has been of significance to the family.
“It’s been a rite of passage for the other generations to drive,” said Georgiann Rose.
Included was her 16-year-old son, David.
“I drove for the first time and thought it was easier than driving a car,” he said.