Report of the National Threshers Association Reunion held at the Williams County Fairground June 23-24-25, 1955
Three days of absolutely perfect June weather, 25 large steam traction engines in excellent condition and run by excellent engineers, innumerable ingenious models of all sizes and descriptions, unequalled Fair Grounds with buildings for all purposes, the largest crowds of enthusiastic people all these added up to the most successful Reunion the National Threshers Association, Inc., ever enjoyed.
This year, in addition to the prony brake and the Baker Fan, on which the engines were worked a good deal of the time, winter barley was threshed every day. A sawmill was run by a good sawyer who sawed watermelons for the crowd in between log sawing; the earthen incline was rebuilt to a 42% grade, and engines could and did go on up and over on the other side; a number of engines tried out the teeter-totter; a steam engine race was held; concerts on the steam calliope were given after the morning invocation, from 12 noon to one p. m., and during the supper hour. In fact, this year there was so much activity all the time it was difficult to keep up with it all.
Two parades, Friday evening and again Saturday afternoon, gave almost everyone an opportunity to witness at least one. The large grandstand, seating several thousand, was filled for both occasions, with so many lining the track Saturday afternoon it was almost difficult for the floats to get through. Besides the engines, which are of course the mainstay of the parades, the ladies of TNT (The National Threshwomen) prepared several floats, very colorful, especially since time was so short for preparation. Each year a new float is added to the parade, the new one this year being the Square Dance float. The first was the Threshers Dinner float, with the men rushing to the table upon hearing the dinner bell. When one of the men pulled a large mouse out of the dish at the end of the meal the crowd roared with appreciation. The float added to the parade last year was the Old-Time kitchen, with all genuine antiques being used by ladies in costume-churning butter with the dash churn, rolling out dough with hand carved rolling pin, ironing on a table leaf with a sad iron, washing a small boy in washtub, cooking on a small stove with a real fire in it. Everybody Works But Father' was the sign on the side of a small rocker on which sat our Chaplain, rocking and toasting his toes on the hearth of the little old stove.
The ladies of TNT rode on a gaily decorated float, holding pennants and colorful parasols. They also were serenaded with an air calliope, mounted on the front of their float. Another decorated float carried the Williams County Homemakers Chorus, who sang several songs at the Ladies Program Friday afternoon. In addition, for the ladies there were three cooking and freezing demonstrations, a marvelous 'Kitchen of Tomorrow', shown usually only in large cities; the famous 'Hobby Lobby', filled with all kinds of needle and art work. Two new features were organ recitals on the Wurlitzer, and an old fashioned parlor furnished by the Historical Club of Montpelier, which drew many nostalgic glances and remarks.
The Federated Garden Clubs had their Flower Show earlier in the month, but the three winning table arrangements were on display in the Floral Hall, as well as several flower bouquets and arrangements. It is unfortunate that the NTA Reunion and the height of the floral season do not coincide, but mother nature is no more willing to rearrange her schedule than is NTA, so we will probably have to content ourselves with the same type of floral display next year.
One of the new exhibits was the Ford engine, mentioned in the Steam-O-Gram. Lack of time prevented doing more to it than getting it mounted on skids and over to the grounds, where they did actually get steam through it. But come next year and you won't recognize it.
The same officers were reelected at the annual business meeting Thursday evening, with three new directors being Wilbur Collins for Illinois, Harold Gay for Indiana, Peter Bucher for Iowa. We wish to take this opportunity to thank all the former offices and directors for their help in the past, and to bespeak their continued cooperation. During the Memorial service following the business meeting, the names of 37 members who have passed away since the Memorial service in 1952, were read by Rev. Ritzman. The secretary's report showed 3915 membership cards in the file as of January 1, 1955, with nearly a thousand more now to be added.
Take it all in all, the 11th annual Reunion of NTA was by all odds the best yet, but plans are now being made to improve the 12th, to be held the same time, the last Thursday, Friday and Saturday of June; and at the same place, the Williams County Fair Grounds, Montpelier, Ohio. See you there.