Birch Hills hosts 24th annual Threshing and Family Fun Day

Carol Baldwin/Local Journalism Initiative Reporter/Wakaw Recorder. An antique tractor and implement at Birch Hills Museum.

Carol Baldwin, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Wakaw Recorder

The 24th annual Birch Hills Threshing & Family Fun Day was held Sunday, August 13th on the grounds of the Birch Hills Memorial Museum.

The museum is housed in the old hospital with exhibits of taxidermy, veterans’ uniforms and medals, a country store, early dairy equipment, blacksmithing tools, and early toys, as well as archives of local families from the district.

The roof of the building is needing to be replaced, highlighted by the basins set out to catch the drips of water coming leaking through the ceiling at the end of the hall on the main level, and the proceeds from the pancake breakfast and any donations received were all earmarked for the Raise the Roof Fundraising Drive. Barbecued burgers and hotdogs were provided on-site by members of the Historical Society along with pie and drinks.

Other activities available on the grounds included an ecumenical church service, children’s activities, rope-making demonstrations, a silent auction, a photo competition, and of course the threshing demonstration. The restored tractors and equipment are always a favorite for young and old, as the young marvel at the vast differences between what they are familiar with and what they see before them and the old reminisce about their experiences operating them.

We often tend to think of history as the far distant past, 2…3… or 400 years ago, and discount the importance of our own near-distant past. A historical society is an organization dedicated to preserving, collecting, researching, and interpreting historical information or items.

Originally, these societies were created as a way to help future generations understand their heritage, but they do more than that. They show us the path of our development and knowing and understanding the past will help us to create a brighter future for all.

Small historical societies like those in Birch Hills, Wakaw, Cudworth, and the like have an important role to play in telling the smaller, oftentimes quieter stories that can get lost like the story of the Military Service Cross from 1915 that eventually made its way home to the recipients family. Local historical societies can interpret how past major events impacted those locally and bring those events to a new level of understanding to young people.

Although the parade was a bit shorter than some other years, the day was still a great opportunity to come together as a community. Threshing Day is, in the words of Pastor Duane Mohn who also wears the hat of President of the Birch Hills Historical Society, a community effort that relies on the support of many volunteers. It was not lost on this reporter that many of those volunteers had more salt than pepper in their hair, but when it came to pitching the bundles into the threshing machine a young strong pair of arms were more than ready to “pitch in”.

Hopefully more in his age group will be interested in preserving the history and learning the stories before it is too late.