Vintage Power Machines festival crowds exceed expectations

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Threshing demonstrations were one of the highlights at the Vintage Power Machines 41st Annual Threshing Festival.

The Vintage Power Machines Museum located south of Prince Albert hosted a very successful 41st Annual Threshing Festival on July 15 and 16.

The Museum had over 200 people through the doors on July 15 and was expecting well over double that amount on July 16.

This was the second year back to their regular two-day festival after holding a mini festival in 2021.

Each day at the festival starts with a pancake breakfast and Sunday included a Sunday Devotional with Hubert Smith in the Church on site.

The concept for the Threshing Festival is to keep traditions alive.

“Just more to keep the old vintage stuff in everybody’s mind and let people see what they’ve come through over the years, their parents, grandparents and so on. You know, it’s nice to see a lot of it restored and kept up. It’s just another venue for people to see and do,” Andal said.

The main event on Sunday was the popular vintage tractor pulls, which used the rig from the Melfort Agricultural Society to run the event.

Andal explained that the weekend went well but they have found themselves short of helpers.

“We’re a little short of a few helpers this year. A few of our members are sick, ones in the hospital and another one or two are fighting cancer and different stuff at home and that’s tough,” Andal said.

The membership is aging but Andal explained that younger members are coming aboard.

“We are gradually getting a few new younger ones in again and finally anywhere from the twenties up to the fifties. . Or one of our new members is one of the new blacksmiths that are working with Hubert Smith over here (John McCann) and he’s really good,” Andal said.

Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald Blacksmith John McCann did a demonstration of his craft on Sunday at the Vintage Power Machines 41st Annual Threshing Festival.

Another young blacksmith is Ramsey Rude from the Canwood area. Andal explained that Rude shows some great skills as a blacksmith.

“Hubert’s told us like he said, ‘ he’s making pieces of stuff that I, I can’t make yet with better equipment’ he said ‘I don’t know how he’s doing it all.’ Well, he said he’s got the way the thinking is out to make it work and he’s a natural. That’s the thing,” he said.

The Museum is also looking for ways to be open more often.

“This year we were because we were a little short of staff. We haven’t had as many just driving in off the highway regularly,” Andal said.

“For the coming year we’re going to start working on it this fall already there are provincial and federal grants out there available to try and get our summer students and we’d like to hire two for next year to keep it open every day. And that way, if they’re here every day working, more of our members will be out here for half a day, a full day and so on,” Andal added.

If you want a tour when they are not open you can contact curator Percy Halliwell to set up a tour.

“We will make a set time and meet them and take them for a tour. And it’s just all voluntary, like everybody just pitches in and does it and if people make a donation, we appreciate it,” Andal said.

According to Andal they occasionally receive donations of up to $100 from people who do tours.

The club is also building a new canteen to replace the original one on the site.

“We rented a couple of tents because we’re in the process of building our new canteen this year,” Andal said.

The Museum has put in the footings and begun groundwork on the building and they hope to have the building up by fall of this year. Fundraising for the project was successful.

“We’ve got probably close to $80,000 in material already bought and ready. That’s and most of it’s going to be put together with volunteers. We have to have regular inspections by all the guys that inspect built and everything and we have an electrician that we’ll be putting in the last and the main part of the wiring and stuff, a plumber helping with plumbing,” he said.

The club to recognize donors big and small with a plaque on the wall once the building is completed.

Andal wanted to thank everyone who took the time to attend this year.

“It’s just nice to see everybody come out every year and I want to thank everybody that has come out every year or whether some of them make it one year or not all again, or they come out every year it’s all appreciated,” Andal said.