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An earlier start for annual Steam Threshing Festival

Annual festival dedicated to turn of the century farm life has a great weekend, despite earlier than usual start

Posted: Jun 10, 2019 1:32 AM
Updated: Jun 10, 2019 1:35 AM

FOREST CITY, Iowa - It's a taste of fall harvest in June.

The annual Steam Threshing Festival at Heritage Park showcased a glimpse of what farm life was like at the turn of the 20th century, featuring Sheppard diesel tractors, steam traction engines, flywheel engines, Minneapolis threshing machines, and more. In addition, there were demonstrations for corn shelling, a saw mill, and even steam-powered ice cream making and a classic car show and barn dance.

It's Andy Moravec's second year at the festival. He farms cash crops near Green Bay, and also has a collection of older farm implements. He got hooked as a kid, and is encouraging those that have experience and background to pass along the knowledge.

"One of my favorite pasttimes after we shut down the tractors is to sit around the campfire with the old timers, a lot of them that used these when they were kids, and hearing their stories. Because those are the ones that aren't going to be passed on much longer. It's very humbling to have a kid take a fascination like I have when I was a little boy."

While the festival has traditionally been in September, Lawrence Swanz, who's been coming to the festival from Minnesota, says the decision was made to move it to June to improve attendance.

"We were finding that we were having a low gate. School was starting up, and Iowans are pretty fanatical with their football team. It seemed like our show always fell on the weekend where they would have a home game."

Organizers from the Country Thunder Iowa Music Festival (formerly Tree Town), which is held in and next to Heritage Park, recently announced that they would move the festival to around the same time period. This is prompting the Steam Threshing Festival to be moved again; however, a new date has not yet been set.

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