Threshermen & Collector's Show ALBERT CITY, IOWA

Mark S. Joenks
July/August 1992


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A rising star among steam shows in northwest Iowa is the Albert City Threshermen and Collector's Show. The show location is two miles west and one mile north of Albert City. The 1991 attendance of 13,500 spectators is not surprising, since the show held many acres of excitement for the whole family.

For the antique farming fans, pulling power was supplied by a wide variety of sources. Over 50 horses, ponies, and mules, including a jumping mule, provided 100% natural power for many exhibits. The next step in the history of farm power, steam engines, was also on hand. Gas and diesel tractors represented the final step in farm progress with 219 exhibits. The featured line of farm products was Massey-Harris. A Wallis tractor, a predecessor to Massey-Harris, was the featured tractor. Over 200 portable gas engines showed how people received power before having electricity. A stationary Corliss steam engine and three cylinder Fairbanks-Morse diesel engine demonstrated the power sources found in factories in the early 1900s. On a smaller scale, working models of gas, steam, and hot air engines were displayed, including an entire scale threshing rig.

The tractors and steam engines did not sit idle at the show. To the delight of die-hard threshing fans, several threshing machines ran throughout the show. Field activities also included plowing. A lumber mill worked the big tractors and steam engines. For engineers and tractor operators, a dynamo and Baker fan put their engines to the test. The more daring operators could enter a sanctioned antique tractor pull. On the other hand, machines did not receive the only workout. The horses and ponies were put to work pulling tour wagons. The trolleys would take passengers on a tour of the grounds. Horses also pulled the bundle racks to the threshing machines. In addition, they were put to use drilling wells. However, not all horses came to work. The association's first open class horse show drew 184 riders.

A trip on the trolleys took passengers to many other interesting attractions. In addition to the many farm machines at the show, approximately 100 antique cars and trucks were also displayed. Blacksmiths and the Ridge Runners (Cherokee Ridge Runners are a group of people dedicated to the continued knowledge and practices of the early pioneers) demonstrated many skills used by the pioneers and settlers. Along the parade route, everyone could browse through the farmstead house and 'svensga stuga.'' (A svensga stuga is something probably known only by a few people in the immediate area of Albert City. It is a replica of a Swedish summer home or, as we refer to it, a summer cottage.) An authentic school house also sat along the parade route. Tent shows provided a place to rest and be entertained by a wide variety of performers. The petting zoo entertained children. Then everyone was entertained by the daily parades. On Sunday, a nondenominational church service was given in the tent.

For people interested in souvenirs and merchandise, in other words, shopping, hordes of items from cider to shingles were for sale. The broom making hut was always popular. Down by the lumber mill, the shingle mill made souvenir show shingles. On the other end of the grounds, 42 craft displays filled a large building and the corn crib. Across the road from the site, toy exhibitors filled 14 tables. A flour mill and cider hut were also on the grounds. For the hungry folks, the Threshermen's Cafe was ready to please. Homemade ice cream was available at the Lil' Red Barn. Refreshments were also available at the General Store. The General Store sold many more items including books and souvenirs. A printing press and harness display were located in the store too.

The August 7, 8, 9, 1992 Threshermen & Collector's Show is expected to be even bigger and better. The show will celebrate 150 years of the J. I. Case Company, the featured implement will be a hand fed Case agitator. This show is one you will not want to miss, and I hope to meet you there.


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