OUR REUNION OPENED with a rain until noon the first day. The highlight of the day was the broadcast of the Dinner Bell Hour from radio station WLSMC'd by Mr. Maynard Burch. The broadcast was opened by a whistle blast from the 60 or more whistles in unison, which almost blasted WLS off the air.
This was followed by interviews of officials and others, including the State Boiler Inspector.
We also had a team of oxen and covered wagon, managed by Mr. Ben Kissick who cares for them at the State Park at Salem, Illinois.
Our entertainment consisted of radio stars from WLS, including Arky the woodchopper, Capt. Stubby and the Buccaneers, Dorothy Ann Ferguson, Hank the Clown and others. Saturday evening was devoted to square dancing by local groups around Pontiac and vicinity.
We held two parades daily, except the first day when we omitted the afternoon parade because of wet grounds.
We were honored by the presence of friends from many states, and from Canada, Mexico, and Japan, who registered at the Ladies Hobby Building.
On Sunday, the last day, our show did not start until 1:00 P. M., as we were honored to have our Chaplain, Rev. Elmer Ritzman of Enola, Pa., with us, who delivered a fine thresher sermon at our Sunday Church service. We were glad to see Elmer and to have him at our show.
The Ladies Hobby Building was filled to overflowing with their hobbies. One building was devoted only to antiques.
Our steam table was a huge success for our first year. We had a steam line hooked up to Milford Rees' antique Peerless engine which furnished lubricated steam for the models. The threshing was in charge of Mr. James Roberts, our Vice President, assisted by Mr. Dan Zehr. Threshing was demonstrated from the tramping out of the grain by oxen, flail, the ground hog, chaff piler, web stacker and last, but not least, the latest of a Huber set with all up-to-date attachments.
We had 6 old type tractors shown. Frank Fitzpatrick also showed one of his 1914 Model T Ford cars along with a stage coach which was over 100 years old. This coach sports a genuine bullet hole.
Our parades were viewed by thousands of people from the bleachers. Each parade consumed approximately 35 to 40 minutes to pass in review, with each unit being described over the loud speaker system.
Mr. R. D. Waggoner of Ottawa, I11., had his saw mill on the grounds and used different engines to pull the saw in sawing several thousand feet of lumber.
On Thursday we were honored by the presence of several officials of the J. I. Case Company, through the courtesy of Mr. Homer Dixon of Yorkville, Illinois. They run Homer's center crank Case in the parades and also all over the show grounds.
Ralph Shelbourne, Zionville, Indiana brought his Model engine. Carter Dalton of Ambia, Illinois, brought his Model, also Boswell, Indiana fire engine Number 1.
Wilbur Collins amazed the crowd in his act of balancing his Huber on the teeter-totter twice daily, and to make it official, Wilbur would throw out the clutch and idle the engine while balanced. To our knowledge this feat has never been equaled (even by Huber Company).
The advertising and entertainment was in charge of the Lions Club of Pontiac. Mr. Jules Opperman was in charge.
At our annual membership meeting held at Pal Marr Hotel on Saturday, November 19, 1955, we set dates for the 1956 show as Aug. 30-31, and Sept. 1-2-3. Also at that time the following directors were elected for three years: Wilbur Collins, Pontiac; Amer Cook, Washington; Clarence Stotler, Pontiac. At the same time Olaf Jacobson of Pontiac, was elected to fill the two-year unexpired term of Mr. Dan Zehr. Mr. Zehr resigned because of ill health. The membership voted to retain Dan as an Honorary Director.