Farm Collector

OLD TIME FARMING FOR THE CITY FOLKS

Manager Indiana State Fair Pioneer Farm and Home Show 4000 More
house Road West Lafayette, Indiana 47906

Finally the fall work is done and I’ve found time to write
an article on the Indiana State Fair Pioneer Farm and Home Show.
The show was held back in August. It was over 90 degrees for every
one of the 12 days!

Ninety percent of the 200,000 visitors to the Indiana State Fair
Pioneer Farm and Home Show are non-farmers. Some of them were
raised on farms, some remember summers out at Granddad’s. Many
of them, however, know very little about American farming. They
know that all that good food down at the supermarket came from some
place, and somehow those farmers they see, portrayed in country
magazines, had something to do with it.

Therein lies the primary task of dozens of volunteers who stage
the most popular feature of the Indiana State Fair each August. Our
demonstrations, explanations of hundreds of agricultural antiques,
and our interpreters who roam the showgrounds point all their
actions toward the American consumer of food and fiber, who sadly
know little about it. The task is a formidable and rewarding
one.

In the main hall of the Pioneer Village, you will see
reconstructions of summer kitchens, old fashioned country kitchens,
general stores, and walk through an old log cabin that was hewn and
constructed during past shows. You will see craftsmen spinning
wool, quilting, carving ox yokes, making brooms, carving out
buckets and bowls, and operating an old woodshop, and you’ll
enjoy the plaintive rhythm of authentic early American folk music.
Outside, you can wander through ‘Possum Holler,’ a
reconstructed country village with a blacksmith, pottery shop, and
coppersmith’s shack, and enjoy real old fashioned caramel
corn.

Then, drawn by the sounds and smells of the good old times, you
can walk through an old farm with chickens running loose (watch
your step), stick your head in the log smoke house, help in the
verdant truck patch, buy some stone ground corn-meal, or stop and
enjoy the wonderful warmth of the old cook stove as it busily cooks
the cornbread and beans for dinner.

Now, as the sun gets hot, head out to the field where the old
Case steam engine and Red River Special threshing machine warm up
to the task of threshing wheat. The kids can jump up in the grain
wagon to let the wheat run down through their pants, or maybe make
some wheat chewing gum. And just over there men are hulling clover
on the Birdsell, and trying to start the old Fordson tractor.

Just across the road, the portable sawmill is turning out
beautiful walnut, cherry, poplar, and sassafras boards. The lumber
is for sale, and hobbyists quickly place their orders before the
good stuff is all gone.

If you have had enough of the dust, smoke, and chaff, walk over
to the antique tractor building where dozens of beautifully
restored symbols of the good old days are on display. The farmers
there will even lie to you about how good they were, if you just
ask them!

Special features at the Pioneer Village include a toy tractor
show, the gigantic Farmers Day Parade, an authentic old time farm
auction, and the daily drive around the fairgrounds by the old
tractors. If you’re lucky, you can jump on one of the
wagons.

Surely, all of this sounds like plain old fashioned farm fun. It
does, however, have a very serious purposeto tell our many visitors
about those glorious ‘Golden Times’ in American
agriculture, and remind them that their abundant and healthful
supply of food is a result of those millions of farmers, in times
past, who worked so hard to make our agriculture the envy of the
whole world.

Why not come see us at the Indiana State Fair in Indianapolis
August 7-18? If you’d like more information, call me at
317-463-9829, or write to the address above. We sure would enjoy
having you!

  • Published on Jul 1, 1996
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