Old Time Farming for the City Folks

| June/July 1996

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.