This area’s generosity and community spirit were on full display again Sunday as tractors rolled through Franklin and Warren counties as part of the Knights of Columbus Journey for Charity Tractor Cruise.

Organizers of the annual event, now in its 12th year, said donations are still being collected, but as of now, a total of 7,000 pounds of food and an estimated $32,000 was raised in connection with the tractor cruise. That is an increase over the 4,800 pounds of food collected last year. Likewise, organizers said it was another strong year in terms of cash raised.

That is incredible! The tractor cruise gets bigger and more successful each year. This was the first year that tractors rolled through Warren County to support the fundraiser. The food and money are donated to seven area food pantries. We tip our hats to the organizers of the event and the Knights of Columbus chapters on both sides of the river that make this event happen.

And we salute the drivers of the 142 tractors and the residents who turned out along the various routes to support them. They are the ones who make the cash and food donations.

Organizers said they were “blown away” by the folks at one stop along the route between St. Clair and Union who donated 170 cases of food. So are we. It’s a powerful example of the caring people who live here.

But we like the tractor cruise because it’s an endearing slice of Midwest Americana. It gives the owners of the tractors, many of whom are farmers, a chance to show off their prized gear for a good cause. They adorn their spiffed-up tractors with American flags to show their patriotism.

You can’t help but smile when you see that many tractors rolling down the highway or your street — whether you are a kid or a grandparent. There is no denying the attraction we have to the iconic tractor which symbolizes rural life in America. There is a reason country music artists write hit songs about tractors.

We hope this tractor cruise keeps rolling!