Farm memories, history come alive at Agricultural Heritage Days
LUXEMBURG – For some attending this weekend's 25th Agricultural Heritage Days, it'll be like a trip through their personal memory banks.
At least, that's the case for Dale Swoboda, co-chairman with Jim Rabas, of the annual event at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, and he said others will have the same experience.
And, for those who weren't working on a farm 25 or more years ago, Swoboda said they can learn about farming the old way. That includes the busloads of students coming from county schools for field trips Friday, before the event opens to the public.
"A lot of people just enjoy coming to see what they worked with back then," Swoboda said. "They worked on a farm with this equipment, these tractors, these threshers."
Agricultural Heritage Days features vintage farm machinery and a tractor show, with equipment manufactured by Milwaukee-based Allis-Chalmers in the spotlight this year.
Demonstrations of threshing, corn husking, silage making, chainsawing, milling, blacksmithing and more are planned. Visitors can put grain in the threshers and take a free ride on a steam-engine wagon, owned by the Rabas family.
Also among the equipment-related highlights noted by Swoboda are a pea viner (basically, an automated pea thresher) built in 1961 by the Frank Hamachek Machine Co. of Kewaunee — which Swoboda said he believes is one of the first tractor-drawn pea viners made — and the old-fashioned wood-fueled "cookstoves" which will make and serve breakfasts and dinners during the festival. Other concessions are available, with sandwiches and beverages served by the local FFA and ice cream in the Kewaunee County Dairy Promotion's Little Red Barn on the grounds.
Other exhibits and events of interest include quilting and fiber art demonstrations, a toy and collectibles show — Swoboda is one of leading collectors of farm toys in the country — and a silent auction. Children can visit a petting zoo, go on a treasure hunt and drive their pedal-powered tractors through a straw bale maze.
For a little more action, tractor pulls take place each day: an antique tractor pull at noon Saturday and a garden tractor pull at 11 a.m. Sunday.
"We try to keep people interested in all aspects (of the show)," Swoboda said, "give them something to do."
Swoboda also is vice-president of Agricultural Heritage & Resources, Inc., a nonprofit educational group founded in 1994 which operates Heritage Farm in Kewaunee. The event is a fundraiser for Agricultural Heritage & Resources.
"I grew up on a farm in Kewaunee County," Swoboda said of his interest in the event. "I always had an interest in agriculture, I enjoy agricultural history, writing about it, researching it. Agricultural Heritage Days has always been our event; it was the event that started (Agricultural Heritage & Resources)."
The 25th annual Agricultural Heritage Days takes place from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday and Sunday at the Kewaunee County Fairgrounds, 625 Third St., Luxemburg. Admission is $7 for ages 17 and older, $1 ages 12 to 16, $10 for an adult two-day pass. For more information, call 920-388-0604 or email [email protected].
This article originally appeared on Green Bay Press-Gazette: Farm memories, history come alive at Agricultural Heritage Days