Threshing festival returns this weekend

Matt Gardner
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The Vintage Power Machines Threshing Festival has attracted a diverse crowd over the years in part due to its wide range of activities.

Attending the Vintage Power Machines Threshing Festival in 2012, George Gazuk points at a 1916 stationary engine that used to function as an irrigation pump by the South Saskatchewan River. This year’s festival will take place on Saturday and Sunday at the Vintage Power Machines heritage site on Highway 11.

Vintage Power Machines museum curator Percy Halliwell pointed to the stationary gasoline engines displayed at the festival as an example.

“The appeal is restoring antiques,” Halliwell said. “People have a mechanical leaning towards it, and sometimes you’ll find people that didn’t even come from a farming background.

“I know some fellows down in the United States … They have come from a life as pilots in the air force or they may have worked in industry and real estate or as mechanical engineers … and yet they take great pride in restoring and owning antique tractors or stationary gasoline engines.”

“So I guess it’s difficult to say that it’s a hobby that appeals to any particular segment,” he added. “You can find anyone that’s an enthusiast.”

The festival returns for its 34th year this weekend, taking place on Saturday and Sunday at the Vintage Power Machines heritage site on Highway 11. Admission is $5 at the gates, with attendance free for children 12 and under.

Further underscoring its wide appeal, Halliwell pointed to some of the more kid-friendly aspects of the festival.

“We have young people out here, and this year on our brochure that we hand out to people at the gate, I have an area there for our younger visitors where they can go around the site and try and find a number of different tractors or stationary engines like Massey-Harris, CASE, John Deere, Ideal, Galloway, some of these,” he said.

It’s difficult to say that it’s a hobby that appeals to any particular segment. You can find anyone that’s an enthusiast. Percy Halliwell

“So it gives the younger people -- the 12, 14-year-olds, even 10-year-olds -- a chance to go around. It’s a little competition for them, I guess, amongst themselves … We try to keep the younger people engaged too.”

Festivities kick off on Saturday and Sunday with a pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. The latter breakfast will be followed at 10 a.m. by a Sunday devotional.

Tractor pulls are set to take place on Saturday afternoon. Meanwhile, threshing demonstrations are scheduled at 11 a.m., 12:30 p.m. and 2 p.m.

The festival will take visitors through a variety of venues such as vintage schools, a Presbyterian church, general store and specialized establishments such as a shoe repair shop, barbershop and blacksmith.

“We’re hoping the sawmill will be operational,” Halliwell added. “That’s not a sure thing, but we’re hoping that it will be in operation.”

He pointed to the Giles farmhouse, which was built east of Macdowall in 1902, as one of the new attractions this year.

“The outside of the Giles house is pretty much nearing completion … They’re working on the inside and the outside of the house is now complete, and it looks really sharp,” Halliwell said.

“They’ve done a great job of it, the ones that are working on it.”

A range of live music will entertain festival audiences throughout the day.

Organizations: Power Machines museum, Vintage Power Machines, Presbyterian church Giles house

Geographic location: United States, Macdowall

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Recent comments

  • margareet hildebrand
    July 20, 2014 - 02:32

    not much info for events, at the festival for sunday except a pancake breakfast. Is there any tractor pulls on sunday?