The Will County Thresherman's Association will host their 49th Annual Antique Tractor and Steam Show this weekend at the Dollinger Family Farm in Channahon, Illinois. Admission is five dollars for adults and two dollars for children 11 and under. The show runs from Thursday, July 21 to Friday, July 24. The show features a flea market, crafters, and a petting show.
The Steam Show also will feature antique tractors, antique steam engines, and demonstrations of threshing wheat. Before the invention of the combine, farmers cut their wheat and then hired a farmer with a threshing machine to come to the farm and thresh the wheat. The threshing machine separated the wheat from the chaff. Farmers would generally help each other out with threshing, and would trade labor in that fashion as the farmer who owned the thresher--the "thresherman"--made it to each farm.
According to my grandparents, the day of threshing at the farm was a big day for the farm wife as she had to prepare enough food for all of the neighbors who had arrived to help. The farm wives would often try to outdo one another's lunches and desserts. I remember a story of a time when a neighbor forgot to put the sugar in a cherry pie. The threshers said it just needed a little extra sugar as they reached for the sugar cup and poured some on. The farm wife eventually realized she had forgotten the sugar and was quite embarrassed, but it made for a good story and a concrete memory of that year's threshing.
The Will County Thresherman's Association was created to remember the old time method of threshing wheat and other old-time agricultural methods and community events. According to the Association, "In August of 1963, Ray Kestel originated a yearly threshing bee on the Ed Kestel farm in Will County, Illinois. In subsequent years, the show was held at the Ray Kestel farm three miles south of New Lenox. On February 15, 1966, Ray called a meeting to propose that an organization be formed to support the annual show celebrating old-time agricultural methods. The forty-five men in attendance approved Ray's plan, and the Will County Threshermen's Association was born. Ray served as the club's president for its first five years. The organization's purpose is to honor and preserve America's agricultural legacy. It is especially appropriate that Will County host such an association, for a significant chapter in American history took place there."
Here are some photos from previous Will County Thresherman's Shows:
|Steam Engine at the Will County Thresherman's Show|
|Antique John Deere and Oliver Tractors at the Will County Thresherman's Show|