Keeping farm machine history alive

33rd annual Steam Threshing and Plowing Show now in progress

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By SARA JORDAN-HEINTZ

TIMES REPUBLICAN

The time and labor farmers of the early 1900s put into growing and harvesting crops, comes alive during the 33rd annual Steam Threshing and Plowing Show, located eight miles west of Marshalltown at 2373 Jessup Ave.

This yearly event, sponsored by the Mid-Iowa Antique Power Association (MIAPA), gathers together old-time farming enthusiasts from all over the state, who come and exhibit their farming equipment and watch demonstrations.

“I just like to see the old equipment. I was raised on a farm, but they were all gas tractors, so it’s nice to see the steam engines, especially when they’re burning wood over coal,” said attendee Barb Kreinbring of Des Moines, who attends the show every year.

The festivities kicked off Friday morning, and will continue all weekend, with demonstrations held throughout the day, including tractor plowing, steam engine threshing, blacksmithing, corn shelling, kiddy pedal tractor pull, shingle mill, large sawmill and baling straw. Many of these activities will be offered daily during this three-day show.

One demonstration which drew young and old alike was the potato dig, whereby horses pulled a digger which brought planted potatoes to the surface. Children were allowed to then pick up and take home the potatoes.

The saw mill demonstration was a team effort. A 1904 Russell steam engine, owned by Vernon Waterman of Melbourne, was used to power the saw mill in order to take raw, native tree logs and cut them into planks.

“You’ve got to watch the water levels in the steam engine, or it won’t work right,” Kreinbring said.

Three brands of tractors are being showcased in a special exhibit: Oliver, Minneapolis-Moline and White Farm Equipment.

“It’s part of history,” said MIAPA member Bob Upah of Belle Plaine. “I come to this to support the hobby and see things I grew up with, and any of the old engines.”

Hundreds of antique tractors will set out on display, and some will be featured in the MIAPA’s Parade of Power, held today at 3 p.m. and Sunday at 2 p.m. A flea market, craft show and quilt show are also offered on the grounds. Area vendors are selling sandwiches, popcorn and ice cream, among other goodies.

An Oliver 60 tractor will be raffled off, with the winner announced after Sunday’s Parade of Power. Raffle tickets cost $2 each or six for $10, available from MIAPA members and at the event.

The band Prairie Lightning will perform classic country tunes, beginning at 6 p.m. tonight. The BASICS (Brothers and Sisters in Christ Serving) will perform at the Sunday morning worship service, beginning at 8:30 a.m. Pastor Bud Kelly will lead the service.

Admission is a one-time charge of $8 per person. Those 12 and under get in for free. Parking is free. Campers are welcome. Plaques will be given to all exhibitors.

For more information, contact Ron Veren at: 641-750-1132 or visit: www.miapa.org and MIAPA’s Facebook page.

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Contact Sara Jordan-Heintz at

641-753-6611 or sjordan@timesrepublican.com