An estimated 8,000 spectators visited the George Hedtke farm near Davis Junction Friday, Saturday and Sunday to see the demonstration of threshing by the Northern Illinois Steam Power Club.
The peak crowd came Sunday when old time threshing weather, hot with a brilliant sun, made even the spectators feel like they were participating in the midsummer work. It was estimated that over 5,000 attended the demonstration on Sunday alone
The program, the second annual event for the club was staged with 3 engines providing power for three separators. Owners and operators of the three engines were Newton Gould, of Elburn, with his Illinois, the last one made by the Illinois Thresher Works of Sycamore; George Hedtke of Davis Junction with a Case; and Ed Smith of Cortland, with a Minneapolis engine. The separators were an Avery Yellow Fellow and two made by Case.
Seventy acres of oats had been cut and shocked in preparation for the event and although it required some late operations, up until 8 p.m., last night, the last of the bundles had been fed through the machines when the demonstration was completed.
The Hedtke farm provided excellent accommodations for the huge crowd, plenty of parking space being available, and a spacious grove providing
room for the lunch tent, operated by the women of the Davis Junction Church, and the headquarters tent. A half hour out in the threshing area watching the engines and the separators was usually followed by a rest period in the shade of the grove where soft drinks were available.
Two classes of spectators appeared to predominate. One was the old timers, who remembered when they were active on the farm and worked in a ring that had a rig 'just like that one.'
The other group was the younger farmer, who recalled the excitement of the threshing ring on the horn? farm, but was too young to participate. He was there with his son explaining how the separator worked, and comparing it with the operations of the present day combine. Some of these men pitched a few bundles, just to see how it felt.
Rupert Jordan, president of the Steam Power Club said the high interest shown in the demonstration this year indicated that the club should seriously consider even a better display for 1959.