OLD TIME FARMING FOR THE CITY FOLKS

Horse Case

Noel Ertle's 65 horse Case during the Fanner's Day Parade finale.

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

Finally the fall work is done and I've found time to write an article on the Indiana State Fair Pioneer Farm and Home Show. The show was held back in August. It was over 90 degrees for every one of the 12 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 Granddad'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 dozens of volunteers who stage the most popular feature of the Indiana State Fair each August. Our demonstrations, explanations of hundreds of agricultural antiques, and our interpreters who roam the showgrounds point all their actions toward the American consumer of food and fiber, who sadly know little about it. The task is a formidable and rewarding one.

In the main hall of the Pioneer Village, you will see reconstructions 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, and operating an old woodshop, and you'll enjoy the plaintive rhythm of authentic early American folk music. Outside, you can wander through 'Possum Holler,' a reconstructed country village with a blacksmith, pottery shop, and 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 smoke house, help in the verdant truck patch, buy some stone ground corn-meal, or stop and enjoy the wonderful warmth of the old cook stove as it busily cooks the cornbread 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 Birdsell, and trying to start the old Fordson tractor.

Just across the road, the portable sawmill 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, however, have a very serious purposeto 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 farmers, in times past, who worked so hard to make our agriculture the envy of the whole world.

Why not come see us at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis August 7-18? If you'd like more information, call me at 317-463-9829, or write to the address above. We sure would enjoy having you!