At more than 1,200 events held all over the U.S. every year, people like you set up demonstrations and displays that give a glimpse into traditional farm practices. Everything from harvesting to threshing, shelling to plowing, grinding to sawing, individuals and small groups crank it up and get ‘er done. But there is always more than one way to skin a cat. Why not share your best ideas?
Larry Whitesell’s story will resonate with any of you who’ve produced or helped produce a demonstration at a show. For several years, he put on a blacksmith demonstration at a show near his home in Tipton, Indiana.
“After loading, hauling, unloading, setting up, demonstrating, loading, hauling, unloading and putting the display away each year, I began to consider the merits of a portable blacksmith shop,” Larry says. “It increasingly seemed that the demonstration itself had become the lesser part of the operation.”
Next thing you know, he had a shop on wheels that could easily be hauled to and from the showgrounds. Obviously the shop didn’t build itself. But it’s easy to imagine the near glee he must have experienced during design and construction, knowing that the drudgery of packing, loading and set up were things of the past. Plus, it’s a safe bet that he had fun figuring out ways to salvage “found” materials that added utility or eye appeal and reduced the cost.
Some folks’ minds naturally flow toward innovation. For the rest of us, ruts can be as comfortable and familiar as a favorite easy chair. A different way of doing things, an easier or more interesting way may never occur to us. But all you have to do is drop in on a few shows, and light bulbs start glowing. And the guy with the clever idea? He’d like nothing better than to tell you about it!
Got a cool way of doing something at your show? Let Farm Collector be the town crier! Drop us a line, shoot us an email. We’d love to share your best ideas with everyone in the hobby. And if you’re near Tipton this summer, drop by Larry’s demonstration for a look at the most relaxed blacksmith in the continental 48! FC
Leslie C. McManus