The Silver Anniversary of the Central States Threshermens' Reunion opened, unofficially, at noon on Wednesday, August 29th when US. Senator Adlai Stevenson III invited President Dean Zehr, 1st Vice President Herb Beckemeyer, 2nd Vice-President Vic Opperman and Secretary Robert Kipfer to lunch at Palomar House in Pontiac. After lunch, the entire group drove to the beautiful 4-H Park for a tour of the grounds and a demonstration of things to come. Several activities were operated for Mr. Stevenson and his associates to show what was scheduled for the next five days. All enjoyed the 'Sneak Preview' very much and everyone was happy that the Senator could attend even though he had to come one day early.
Wednesday evening, several threshermen and their wives attended a dinner at the Elks Club which was sponsored by the Kiwanis Club and the Junior Womens' Club who had conducted a Queen contest. Highlight of the program was the crowning of Miss Terri Elliott of Cropsey as 'Miss Thershers Reunion'. The main speaker was William Kuhfuss, President of the American Farm Bureau Federation.
Official Opening Ceremonies were held promptly at ten o'clock on Thursday morning with Bob Kipfer performing admirably as Master of Ceremonies.Rev. Yoder, Pastor of the United Methodist Church gave the invocation followed by Julius Rasmussen of Gibson City playing the National Anthem on his old time roller organ. President Zehr gave a short address and then Herb Beckemeyer came forth with the traditional 'Engineers'. Blow your whistles and start threshing!' and the show was on!
The Thursday evening session was in charge of Sylvester Fosdick with a Memorial Service for all past active members. A Special Memorial for the late Dan Zehr, orginator of the reunion and father of President Zehr, was offered by his nephew, Rev. Zehr. Pictures were shown by Ray Reed and music was furnished by the 'Youngs' of Fairbury, featuring Vern Reed on the violin and John Allison on his mouth organ.
Friday evening, 'An Evening of Melodrama' was presented by the Vermilion Players. Laughs all over the place!
The 'Class A Society Horse Show' was held on Saturday evening as it has been for the past several years. Huge crowds always attend this show and it is always a great success.
Worship Services at nine o'clock on Sunday morning opened the day's activities. The parade in downtown Pontiac during the afternoon becomes larger and more beautiful every year. More and more antique cars arrive throughout tie morning, participate in the parade and are then on display in the ball park, nearly filling it. During the evening, Johnny Barton and the Sunbeam Country Style Music Show furnished the entertainment. Just great!
New this year there was an Antique Tractor Pull supervised by Frank Samson of Tolono assisted by Bill Bragg of Atwood. So much interest was created that, during the rest of the show, whenever there was time, more pulls were held. Another first this year was the Dog House Club of Pontiac conducting Dog Races. Boy! Can those dogs run! Albert's House, a small house on the grounds, was changed to the Hall of Memories with Mr. and Mrs. Ray Jenson doing the work. They did a wonderful job.
Throughout the entire five days, the Womens' Hobby Building was open. As always, this is a show within itself. Exhibitors show and sell innumerable items. Demonstrations were presented several times each day showing various techniques of old and new methods of making many different things. Andthe Flea Markets-more and more each year; if this keeps up we'll overrun the park. Guy B. Mann of Benson demonstrated old time blacksmithing each day and this is something to behold.
All in all we had a very good show a lot of model steam engines large engines many many tractors gas engines always 10 to 15 bundles to thresh pony horsepower threshing sawmillingtalk about a show, Pontiac is IT! Something for everyone and 'Mom, if you let Dad come by himself, you are missing a lot'. As one woman said, 'One could spend one day in the Hobby Building'.
The Pontiac show is not the largest of its kind but it is certainly one of the best. Come to Pontiac, Illinois and enjoy our coming show plenty of good motels, restaurants, good food on the grounds. Make plans now and, The Good Lord willin' and the gas pumps still pump, we'll see you there August 29, 30, 31, September 1, 2, 1974.