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EXPLORE AMERICA: Old Threshers Reunion

Check out the vintage tractors at the Old Threshers Reunion festival

Check out the vintage tractors at the Old Threshers Reunion festival

This celebration of old-time agriculture draws about 70,000 people to the southeast Iowa town of Mount Pleasant each Labor Day weekend. Begun in 1950, the five-day event has hundreds of antique farm implements on display, all at least half a century old. Here you can see the noisy, steam-powered equipment that worked America’s farms before the development of the gas-fueled tractor, as well as vintage trolleys, trains, trucks, and cars. Visitors can also enjoy live entertainment, craft demonstrations, an historical village, and tents serving overflowing plates of comfort food offered by local organizations. Take a trolley ride, step into a one-room school, and savor life from a simpler time. If you can’t make it to the festival itself, you can visit the historical displays and museums on the Old Threshers grounds year-round.

Each October, the Midwest Old Threshers and Midwest Central Railroad offer intrepid visitors the chance to ride the Ghost Train of No Return through a haunted landscape of goblins, skeletons, open coffins, and headless horsemen. As the train fills the night air with billowing clouds of steam and high, lonesome whistle blows, a ghoulish Halloween atmosphere emerges. Other Halloween offerings on the Old Threshers grounds include haunted trolley rides, wandering fortune-telling gypsies, pony and hayrack rides, a hay maze, a carnival, and children’s games, plus the appropriately named Thrashers House of Terror, which may make you thrash around in panic. Bring a friend for moral support.

Old Threshers Reunion will be held in Mount Pleasant, Iowa, from September 2 – 6, 2010. Telephone (319) 385-8937. http://www.oldthreshers.org/

Photo credit: ©Midwest Old Threshers