Old Thresher's Reunion

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Coordinates: 40°57′19.47″N 91°32′52.22″W / 40.9554083°N 91.5478389°W / 40.9554083; -91.5478389

Steam tractor lineup at the 2010 Reunion

The Midwest Old Threshers Reunion was started in 1950 and has taken place every Labor Day weekend since in the small town of Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. Over 100,000 visitors from all over the World flood this tiny town of about 10,000 for a week long celebration which pays tribute to antique agricultural equipment.

Old Threshers Reunion, as an event, attracts visitors from around the world, attracted by both the permanent exhibits on the reunion grounds and by the collections of antique and steam powered equipment brought to the show by other visitors.

Permanent Exhibits[edit]

The Heritage Museum is open year round, featuring a variety of exhibits that celebrate the rural heritage of the midwest. [1]

The Stationary steam engine exhibit features three of large Corliss engines as well as a number of smaller engines. [2]

The Midwest Electric Railway operates a 4 ft 8 12 in (1,435 mm) standard gauge trolley line around the reunion campground. A number of well restored Iowa trolleys operate on this line, including Waterloo Car 381, the last trolley to operate in public service in Iowa and Car 9 from the Albia Interurban Line. MERA also operates Car 320, a beautiful wooden interurban from the Chicago Aurora and Elgin line in IL. Additional favorite cars come from as far away as Rio de Janeiro, Brazil and Milan, Italy. [3][4] [5]

Midwest Central train pulling into Snipe Runn station.

The Midwest Central Railroad operates a 3 ft (914 mm) narrow gauge railway around the reunion exhibit area. This railroad features a 3-truck Shay locomotive from the West Side Lumber Company railway. Other engines include two 2-6-0 Baldwin engines (one having a recently updated boiler and the other undergoing extensive rework) that formerly served logging railroads in the eastern United States and a German 0-4-0 built by Henschel & Son. For routine operations, there are two Plymouth Locomotive Works diesel switch engines and a Vulcan Iron Works gasoline switch engine. [6] [7] In addition to operating during the reunion, the Midwest Central Railroad has public events connected to Independence Day, Halloween and Christmas. [8]

The Hazel Grace Pierson Carousel Pavilion houses a beautiful fully restored antique carousel. "The Smile Machine" is powered by a Herschell-Spillman steam engine that dates back over a century. The carousel includes a Military Band Organ, as well as the usual rocking horses.[9]

Reunion Venues[edit]

During the show, the village and train station at Snipe Run on the north side of the reunion grounds is an active place, as is the log village at the south end of the trolley line. Major exhibit areas are reserved for small Steam Engines, steam traction engines, Gas Engines, crafts, food, and demonstrations to look at how things were done in the days of old. At noon every day of the reunion, there is a parade of power, where all the operating steam and gas traction engines parade by the grandstand.

Every night of the reunion week week there are two main events. In the early evening the Theatre Museum puts on an old "Toby and Susie" Toby Tolliver play from the Schaffner Players and at night there is a concert in the pavilion. Acts such as Minnie Pearl, Leroy Van Dyke, Tammy Wynette, George Strait, Johnny Cash & June Carter, Kenny Rogers, Brad Paisley, Terri Clark, Willie Nelson and LeAnn Rimes1 have all performed on the Big Stage.

Map of the grounds[edit]

External links[edit]