Prairie Land Show Report


John Deere

Tractor area with the John Deere line featured.

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808 S. West, Jacksonville, Illinois, 62650

The 18th annual Steam Show of Prairie Land Heritage Museum was held September 25-27, 1987, at the corner of Lincoln and Michigan Avenues in South Jacksonville, Illinois.

The '87 Show was the largest ever with an extimated crowd of 7,000 attending the three-day show. We had an estimate of 200 small engines, 60 tractors, and 8 steam engines, with the John Deere line being featured.

This year for the first time, the show opened with a parade, on Thursday, to downtown Jacksonville. This was led by our president in his '49' Ford pickup, followed by tractors, wagons, and a steam engine.

Admission to the show was $2.00 with a museum button good for all three days. Flea market stalls were all full with a total of 110 stands being occupied.

A printed program was available, detailing the daily activities and a map with other useful information.

Throughout the three days, threshing, plowing, molasses making, corn-meal grinding, and baling were all demonstrated. The sawmill proved a popular activity as well as the blacksmith shop, with a 'smithy' on duty at all times.

Many working crafts were on hand such as rope making, a tin punch, caning, rug making, weaving, spinning, quilting, and others.

The Ladies Auxilary made and raffled off a quilt as well as showing a lot of beautiful quilts.

Good food including pork dinners on Friday with ham and beans on Saturday and Sunday kept everyone well fed. Hamburgers, fish sandwiches, and homemade pies were available in the newly built hamburger stand. Funnel cakes proved popular with the young at heart.

A steam train, 'The Prairie Land Express' tickled the fancy of kids from 1-100 as they rode the rails, experienced the flying cinders and heard the familiar whistle as it approached the station. An antique fire engine chugged around the grounds, ringing its bell and blowing its siren.

This year, for the first time, an antique tractor pull and a kiddie tractor pull were held. These were popular with all ages.

Square dancing was enjoyed on Saturday p.m. and Sunday a.m. a local minister conducted a worship service.

This year we will feature the International Harvester line of engines and tractors, with a special show plaque given to those exhibitors. If you have never attended our show, please consider it this year. The dates are September 23-25. Bring your engines and join us in the fun.