Old Time Farming for the City Folks

Indiana State Fair Show

Thousands of State Fair visitors gather on Farmers Day to enjoy the parade of over one hundred restored tractors from the past. This year, the parade was headed up by three fine Rumely Oil-Pulls, manufactured right here in Indiana.

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Manager Indiana State Fair Pioneer Farm and Home Show 4000 Morehouse Road West Lafayette, Indiana 47906

Finally the Fall work is done and I have found time to write about the Indiana State Fair Pioneer Farm and Home Show for hopeful inclusion in Gas Engine Magazine. The show was held back in August. I don't like to think about it. It was over ninety degrees for every one of the twelve days:

Ninety percent of the 200,000 visitors to the Indiana State Fair Pioneer Farm and Home Show are non-farmers. Some of them were raised on farms, some remember summers out at Grand dad's. Many of them, however, know very little about American farming. They know that all that good food down at the supermarket came from some place, and somehow those farmers they see, portrayed in country magazines, had something to do with it.

Therein lies the primary task of the dozens of volunteers who stage the most popular feature of the Indiana State Fair each August. Our demonstrations, our explanations of the hundreds of agricultural antiques, and our interpreters who roam the show grounds point all their actions toward the American consumers of food and fiber, who sadly know little about it. That task is a formidable and rewarding one.

As you enter the main hall of the Pioneer Village, you will see reconstruction of summer kitchens, old fashioned country kitchens, general stores, and walk through an old log cabin that was hewn and constructed during past shows. You will see craftsmen spinning wool, quilting, carving ox yokes, making brooms, carving out buckets and bowls, operating an old woodshop, and enjoying the plaintive rhythm of authentic early American folk music. Outside, you can wander through 'Pos sum Holler,' a reconstructed country village with its blacksmith, pottery shop, coppersmith's shack and enjoy real old fashioned caramel corn.

Then, drawn by the sounds and smells of the good old times, you can walk through an old farm with chickens running loose (watch your step), stick your head in the log smokehouse, help in the verdant truck patch, buy some stone ground cornmeal, or stop and en joy the wonderful warmth of the old cook stove as it busily cooks the corn-bread and beans for dinner.

Now, as the sun gets hot, head out to the field where the old Case steam engine and Red River Special threshing machine warm up to the task of threshing wheat. The kids can jump up in the grain wagon to let the wheat run down through their pants, or maybe make some wheat chewing gum. And just over there men are hulling clover on the Bird sell, and trying to start the old Ford-son tractor.

Just across the road, the portable saw mill is turning out beautiful walnut, cherry, poplar, and sassafras boards. The lumber is for sale, and hobbyists quickly place their orders before the good stuff is all gone.

If you have had enough of the dust, smoke, and chaff, walk over to the antique tractor building where dozens of beautifully restored symbols of the good old days are on display. The farmers there will even lie to you about how good they were, if you just ask them!

Special features at the Pioneer Village include a toy tractor show, the gigantic Farmers Day Parade, an authentic old time farm auction and the daily drive around the fairgrounds by the old tractors. If you're lucky, you can jump on one of the wagons.

Surely, all of this sounds like plain old fashioned farm fun. It does, how ever, have a very serious purpose to tell our many visitors about those glorious 'golden times' in American agriculture, and remind them that their abundant and healthful supply of food is a result of those millions of fanners, in times past, who worked so hard to make our agriculture the envy of the whole world!

Why don't you plan on coming on over and seeing us at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis next August 7 through 18? If you would like more in formation, write or call Mauri William son, 4000 Morehouse Road, West La fayette, Indiana 47906, phone (317) 463-9829. We sure would enjoy having you!

Last year we received a letter from Kees Woudenberg, Eendracht-straat 21, 3784 Ka Terschuur, Netherlands, who sent us a copy of 'De Klep,' a Dutch engine magazine. Kees wrote, 'This magazine is our club magazine with 2000 members (the Netherlands is a small country). At our 16th International Historic Festival (one of the largest shows in Europe), there were approximately 1000 engines and 1500 tractors, and 25,000 visitors; the next festival is July 20 and 21, 1996.' At right is a picture of one of  Kees' tractors, of which he says, 'It's Russian, made in 1968 in Leningrad; the engine is a 240 HP V8 14860 cc (somebody says it's like a Caterpillar engine). I bought it in East Germany and restored it completely in two years.'