Goessel Threshing Days to be ‘non-stop’ activities

Goessel Threshing Days will be held the first week of August, and organizers are planning three days of non-stop activities-including new attractions with a capital “N.”

“There will be entertainment under the tent all afternoon on Saturday and most of Sunday afternoon, starting at noon,” said Jim Wiens, planning-committee member. “This year, we hope to have two things or more going on almost all the time.”

A five-member committee organized the old-fashioned threshing demonstrations and show to include more small activities and events specifically designed to appeal to women and children.

The 29th annual event will be held Friday, Saturday and Sunday, Aug. 2, 3 and 4 in Goessel, and buttons are $4 in advance and $5 at the gate. Buttons admit participants to all activities, and food will be an additional charge.

The theme, “Let us Entertain and Educate You,” sets the stage for a multitude of attractions, including threshing demonstrations, antique tractor pulls, children’s pedal-tractor pulls, homemaking demonstrations, ethnic food, children’s games and crafts, steam-engine fireworks, volleyball tournaments and goat milking.

A map, program with descriptions of events and time tables will be available at the gate. (See side bar for tentative schedule of events.)

The featured machinery this year will be International Harvester, and Threshing Days will host the Red Power Roundup of Kansas Chapter No. 3 of the International Harvester Collectors Club.

Goessel Threshing Days is hosted by the Mennonite Heritage Museum and the Wheat Heritage Engine and Threshing club.

Committee members are Wiens, Anita Goertzen, Larry Voth, Randolph A. Schmidt and Dwight Schmidt. The committee expects to add new events and exhibitors to their schedule up to the final days of the fair.

As many as 100 exhibitors or more are expected when the final tally is taken.

“The whole thing needed revamping,” Goertzen said. “We have a new committee, and people have been willing to help out and come forth with new ideas.

“We’re all excited about all the changes that have been made so far.

“We want people to know about it and come out and give us a try again,” she added.

A large tent, about 40 feet by 60 feet, and a smaller tent, about 20 feet by 20 feet, will provide shade for some of the entertainment. But a multitude of demonstrations and activities also will fill the grounds.

For directions, visitors can travel on Kansas Highway 15 and turn west on Kansas Highway 215 to main-street Goessel.

From there, roaring engines, laughter and aromas of ethnic food will guide visitors to old, familiar threshing demonstrations and new attractions, such as the following:

-?Hay-bale maze-A maze of small straw bales will be arranged about two high so little children can find their way through to the exit;

– Uncle Milt’s Shed-Children will have opportunities to make crafts and games to take home. Those activities, for children accompanied by an adult, include making paper dolls and clothes, hankie babies, embroidery, painted wooden yo-yos, wooden cup-and-ball games, Jacob’s ladders, paper hats and pioneer lunch tins. There will also be a reading corner and interactive demonstrations;

– Voices from the Past-Visitors will have an opportunity to meet Goessel community people from the past. Volunteers, dressed in period costumes, will be under the big tent and walking the grounds as they talk about what is was like to be an elder of the church during the 1874 migration or a mid-wife at the turn-of-the century;

– History re-enactor Nolan Sump-Sump will portray an 1880s German immigrant farmer and will be dressed in appropriate period clothing;

– Mystery table-A variety of unusual artifacts from the Mennonite Heritage Museum collection will be on display for visitors to view and guess their use. These will include a range of items from household to machinery gadgets;

– Low German conversations-Visitors will hear Low German spoken in brief skits and stories;

– Grandpa’s First Car-A narration of the earliest cars, their mechanics and a brief history of their impact on modern-day transportation will be presented;

For those familiar with the past years, take note of a change in food service this year, Goertzen said.

“Verenika and other items will be available on the grounds in the Prep School to go in and just buy individually,” she said.

The other items sold individually this year at the school will be sausage, bierrocks, ham sandwiches, cole slaw, cherry moos and New Year’s cookies.

“And if you want the whole German meal, you can step over to the grade school, where there will be two lines to make it a lot faster to go through, ” Goertzen said.

This year, visitors will have two admission options to the concerts in the tent by folk, traditional and country-music duo Mattson & Weaver and country gospel and contemporary Christian artist Bekah Frees, Goertzen said.

The Threshing Days button will admit music fans to the concert, or the cost at the door will be $2 without a button.

Not to be missed this year is an appearance by Goessel’s own kiddie tractor-pull champion Kendall Schmidt, who began his career at the Threshing Days tractor pull.

“He’s gone on to nationals, and he has all his trophies set up on display in the Wheat Palace,” Goertzen said.

And, of course, tractor buffs won’t be able to resist the variety of machinery displays planned for the event this year.

“One guy alone said he’s bringing in 12 tractors,” Voth said, as he tried to fathom the sheer numbers.

“We’ll have tractors from here to Hillsboro.”

Wiens said this event has drawn visitors from outside Kansas and anticipates at least 50 percent of the gate attendance will come from outside Marion County.

And with the additional activities for women and children and many events featured twice on the week end, Voth said he doesn’t expect anyone going away without an opportunity to share in the fun planned this year.

Schedule of Events

Following is a tentative schedule of Goessel Threshing Days activities. Events are subject to change.

Friday, Aug. 2, 2002

9 a.m.-Gates open.

9 a.m. to noon-Setup for exhibitors;

10 a.m. to 5 p.m.-Mennonite Heritage Museum open.

1 p.m. to 7 p.m.-Threshing, row binding, stationary baling, Great Plains blacksmith, sawmill and large-engine demonstrations;

5 p.m. to 10 p.m.-Sand Volleyball Tournament at West Branch Park;

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.-Mattson & Weaver in Concert, free with Threshing Days button or $2 per person 12 years and older;

9:30 p.m. to 10 p.m.-Steam-engine fireworks from a locomotive smokestack.

Saturday, Aug. 3, 2002

9 a.m.-Gates open.

9 a.m. to 2 p.m.-FFA Petting Zoo, including goat-milking demonstrations at scheduled times during the day.

10:30 a.m.-Threshing Days Parade on Main Street in downtown Goessel followed by garden-show entries on display at Bethesda Home.

11:30 a.m. & 3 p.m.-“School is in Session!” with Kansas trivia by Jane Hiebert.

11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.-Mennonite Heritage Museum open; zwieback baking in a Russian oven; apple paring, butter churning, spinning wheel loom-weaving and quilting demonstrations.

11:45 a.m.-Threshing demonstrations.

Noon to 5 p.m.-Uncle Milt’s Shed for children’s make-it and take-it games and crafts.

Noon to 10 p.m.-Sand Volleyball Tournament.

12:15 p.m.-Doc Krause memories of early medical practice in Goessel; history of International Harvester Company; saw-mill and Great Plains blacksmith demonstrations.

12:15 p.m. & 3:30 p.m.-Large running-engine, saw mill and Great Plains blacksmith demonstrations.

12:30 p.m.-Contests on the half hour, such as cow-chip throwing, watermelon-seed spitting, eggs in the apron race, apple paring, “Spoolkje” tournament with prizes awarded.

1 p.m.-Tractor Parade of Power; row binding, silage cutting, stationary baling, plowing, corn shelling and combining-wheat demonstrations.

1 p.m., 2 p.m. & 4 p.m.-Organ and fiddle music sing-a-long.

2 p.m.-Corn shelling demonstration; Grandpa’s First Car and Grandma’s Garden narrations; children’s pedal-tractor-pull competition.

2:30 p.m.-Threshing-stone demonstration.

2:45 p.m.-Silage chopping; Funk Sisters; Feeding a Threshing Crew narration.

3:30 p.m.-Threshing and large-engine demonstrations; Voices from the Past narration; Grandpa’s First Car narration.

4 p.m. -Threshing demonstration.

4:15 p.m.-Goessel Church Praise Team; history of IHC.

7:30 p.m. to 8:30 p.m.-Bekah Frees in Concert, free with Threshing Days button or $2 per person 12 years and older.

9:30 p.m.-Steam-engine fireworks from a locomotive smokestack.

Sunday, Aug. 4, 2002

10:30 a.m.-Worship service with pastor Jim Dunn, including “Restoration” sermon at large tent.

Noon to 6 p.m.-Sand Volleyball Tournament.

11:30 a.m.-Large-engine demonstrations; Mennonite Heritage Museum opens.

11:30 a.m. to 2 p.m.-FFA Petting Zoo, including goat-milking demonstrations at scheduled times during the day.

11:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.-Quilting, apple-paring, butter churning, spinning-wheel and loom-weaving demonstrations.

11:45 a.m.-Threshing demonstrations.

Noon to 4 p.m.-Uncle Milt’s Shed for children’s make-it and take-it games and crafts; Krause-family narration.

12:15 p.m.-Corn shelling, saw-mill and Great Plains blacksmith demonstrations; Nolan Sump portraying an 1880s German immigrant farmer.

1 p.m.-Tractor Parade of Power; Grandma’s Garden narration.

1 p.m. & 2 p.m.-Organ and fiddle music sing-a-long.

1:30 p.m.-Row binding, silage-cutting and threshing-stone demonstrations.

2 p.m.-Antique tractor pull; threshing demonstrations; Voices from the Past; Feeding a Threshing Crew narration.

2:45 p.m.-Grandpa’s First Car narration; large-engine demonstration.

Food Service

n 11:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., Saturday-Traditional German meal including verenika with ham gravy, sausage, zwieback, cherry moos, cole slaw and drinks served at Goessel Grade School.

Following the parade on Saturday, volunteers at the Goessel Senior Center will be serving a meal, which will include borscht, ham sandwiches, zwieback, pie, tea and coffee. Facilities are air conditioned.

n 11:30 to 4 p.m., Saturday & Sunday-Verenika with ham and gravy, sausage, bierrocks, ham sandwiches, cole slaw, cherry moos, New Year’s cookies and drinks. Food items sold individually.

Also available Saturday and Sunday-local social organizations will offer such items as ham sandwiches, chips, hamburgers, New Year’s cookies, funnel cakes, snow cones and homemade ice cream.

Vendors will offer kettle korn, and Connie’s Chuck Wagon will be on the grounds.

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