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Travel with Bennett-Watt and learn about the Old Threshers Reunion festival in Mt. Pleasant Iowa where you can visit the ...
Prairie Gem Church.
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Host: In this small south eastern community of Mount Pleasant, this annual get together heralds the end of summer. Over 2,300 campers in RVs have become an integral part of the old Threshers Reunion. A grand encampment on 60 acres, an area so vast, antique street cars, tractor-drawn trains, horse-drawn wagons, all sorts of transportation’s here and meet people around.
Here too, one gets a sense of just how important the gospel is in this region of the country. This old chapel built in 1866 which relocated to the old threshers’ camp ground near Mt. Pleasant about 11 years ago.
A local pastor conducts a non-denominational three hymn songs service followed by a Grassroots Gospel servant. Nearly a 100 folk show up for the services, morning and evening.
Lenis Moore: Well this is the annual Threshers Reunion on Mt. Pleasant Iowa. The event itself started 1950, really with a group of people who want to sort of relive the early days of threshing and the early days of farming in the 1920. They began the show in 1950, brought in some steam engines, some old tractors and according to the lore of this area, they just sort of from year to year is they are trying to decide if they would have another one. The reality is in their first program that said the first annual, old Threshers Reunion, so I think there was a certain amount of intent there but what of those who said, brings people together each year, five days through labor day and it served an empty agricultural show that has expanded sort of beyond the dreams of the original founder.
Threshing is the basic process of taking the grain or the weed of the oats from the field, separating the grain from the chaff and the straw. If you’re from the Midwest, you have that basic idea. But the challenge for us in the new millennium is to say, the reality is that, in 1950, the vast majority of people that walked in our gates to see this show were taking a nostalgic trip back to the 20s and 30s. Most people remembered using those machines and they were reliving, I think what they use to refer to is the golden age of threshing. The reality is today, when people walk in our gates, they don’t automatically somehow remember the past. They come to us without that knowledge and for example, we have an area where you can go and drive a tractor.
When we first thought about doing that, we said, “Well, you know, you’re Midwest. We say, well, you know the majority of people that come here are driven attractive. The harsh reality for us is that probably 70% of our new visitors have never driven a tractor. They might have an idea what a tractor is but the average tractor for today’s visitor is that long tractor that the neighbor or they mow their lawn with. For us, we are able to say, what, this is what agriculture was and this is the importance of what it was in the mid west. These are the machines used in agriculture and this is how they relate to the modern machines today. And with the interpretive exhibits in our museums, the educational demonstrations that we do during the event, hopefully, today’s visitor takes away from this event sort of an idea of the importance of agriculture and all of the different passives that affected agricultural life from what they were and that they went to as entertainment to the tractors that they use, the gas engine to power their lines and possibly the train that they rode and just we can kind of wrap it up in a great big fun time.
It’s an interesting show and it’s really true reunion. You have a reunion of the people that come in the exhibit and show things at the event and you have the people that come as visitors. They both reunions have their similar needs and we have to feed them, park them, entertain them, keep them happy but the same is true with the villagers. So, I mean, they sort of overlap and it’s a really interesting gathering each year.