The Midwest Old Settlers and Threshers Reunion of 1965 was
extended from four to five days and for the first time included
Sunday and Labor Day holiday activities.
Crowds in numbers never before seen in the sixteen year history
came to visit and enjoy this friendly family affair. On Sunday,
when weather was ideal, thousands came, some estimated as many as
70,000 people. New parking had to be quickly opened up to handle
the parking of cars and additional officers to handle traffic on
the highways were summoned.
Visitors rode the narrow gauge train, and watched grain
threshed, lumber sawed and sorghum made.
Still a popular event of the Reunion is the huge ‘Cavalcade
of Power’ which features all shapes and sizes of steam engines
pass in review. Thousands of people view this part of the show from
the amphitheatre and along the lengthy parade route.
Each year the Old Thresher’s Week highlights some historical
event. For two years Civil War Centennial Pageants were featured
and played to overflow crowds. The recent Chautauquas have been
very successful and many see the nightly shows.
In 1965, a historical presentation entitled, ‘When American
Took to the Road’, was presented by the Southeast Iowa Antique
Car Club. The cars were the stars of the show and the production
was a fast-moving, laugh-provoking production, yet carried a third
dimension of an important historical era.
This Car Club maintains one of the largest and most varied
collections of antique cars in the country and the country and the
exhibit is open daily for inspection. The night of the show, the
cars come alive and make a program that takes the viewers back to
the days when America first took to the road.
Visitors in the Old Settler’s Village have the feeling that
time is standing still. The country school holds a nostalgic note
for everyone who ever attended its classes. Band concerts from the
village bandstand are reminiscent of a by-gone day. Here in the
village, too, stands the peaceful country church where daily
vespers services are held. The barbershop, the blacksmith shop, log
cabin, post office, bank, jail and saloon, all bring a touch of the
old days to the Reunion.
No sooner had the curtain rung down on the Reunion of 1965 than
plans were under way for another big Reunion in the fall of 1966.
The days will be September 1 through 5, starting on Thursday before
Labor Day and continuing through the holiday.
New features will be added this fall just as they are each year.
Already construction is underway for a large metal building 80 feet
by 192 feet by 14 feet high, which will house the Corliss engines
and antique farm machinery.