Harvest celebration Saturday

Published 10:14 am Monday, October 6, 2008

The second annual Fall Harvest Celebration will be held Saturday, Oct. 11 at the Mower County Historical Center.

From noon to 3 p.m. Oct. 11, the Mower County Historical Society will celebrate the change of seasons, prairie history and more.

Admission is free and the activities are planned for the whole family with a special emphasis on children.

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Barb Lewis, president of the MCHS board of directors, said, it’s a great place to bring children to learn about our past, to experience our past.

“What we’re finding is that many parents of children have not experienced these things either. They’re young,” Lewis said.

“It’s a great place for grandpa and grandma to come and bring their grandchildren, too.”

Lewis added that all the people who come enjoy the rides behind the horses and the mules on the wagons.

“There’s just so much to do for everyone at the Fall Harvest Celebration,” she said.

The list of activities is impressive: The Three Old Boys will perform their fiddle music; there will be a petting zoo; there will be a bake sale with breads; pies, cookies and bars; there will be crafts for children, and there will be a display of antique farm machinery and “hit and miss” engines in action.

The activities will take place at the agricultural history building, allowing activities to be moved indoors if the weather turns inclement.

The list of demonstrations is also impressive. Butter churning, wood carving, candle making, wood spinning and more. A special dedication ceremony will take place 1 p.m. Oct. 11 for the newly-painted M-4 Sherman tank, a World War II relic.

Presently, there are street improvements being made at the fairgrounds, so visitors are asked to watch for signs.

According to Lewis, it may be necessary to enter the fairgrounds by the south gate or from a gate opening along 12th Street Southwest, south of the main entrance to the fairgrounds.

While admission is free, free-will donations will be appreciated to help defray expenses to hold the Fall Harvest Celebration.

A lot of work is going into making the Sunday afternoon one to remember.

MCHS members and the board of directors help out and so do dozens of volunteers who believe in the importance of preserving history.

Dwight and Vicky Smith bring their mules.

Gordie Hjelman, Blooming Prairie, will bring his miniature ponies and a wagon. “That is for little children to ride,” Lewis said. “It’s very popular. They’re really unique little creatures.”

The 1 p.m. Oct. 11 tank dedication is made possible thanks to funds from the Minnesota Sesquicentennial Commission.

The U.S. Army tank was donated to the MCHS in 1958 and underwent a makeover this summer thanks to a re-painting by Criag Christianson.

Kelly Olson, former MCHS historical center director, will return to speak at the dedication ceremonies. Don Chapek, Bill Lewis and Duane Haverman are working on the antique farm equipment.

Ben and Gladys Christians will have a corn sheller in action.

Jeff Witt will have a team of horses to pull a wagon of visitors.

It’s all about fun and fundraising.

“We hope to make money to keep the Historical Society going,” Lewis said.

The annual Christmas in the County celebration is a bigger event and also an important fundraiser to the constantly financially-strapped Historical Society.

But, the Fall Harvest Celebration also helps defray expenses.

“We’re hoping the Harvest Celebration will become as big as Christmas in the County,” she said.

Lewis , a retired elementary school teacher, has enthusiasm that is infectious.

“This will be a place where people can come and get good food,” she said of the bake sale. “They won’t have to cook for awhile. We’re going to have baked breads, caramel corn, pumpkin bars, cookies and even lefse.”

“There will be music and entertainment, the log cabin will be open and the Milwaukee Road train exhibits, including Engine No. 1004 will be open.”

Lewis will have two jobs: Candle making and driving a Model T Ford belonging to Arnie Wolff. For more information about the Mower County Historical Society, call 437-6082.