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Home News Vintage Power Machines kicks off 40th Threshing Festival southwest of Prince Albert

Vintage Power Machines kicks off 40th Threshing Festival southwest of Prince Albert

Vintage Power Machines kicks off 40th Threshing Festival southwest of Prince Albert
Threshing demonstrations were one of the highlights at the Vinatge Power Machines 40th Annual Threshing Festival. -- Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

The Vintage Power Machines Museum located south of Prince Albert is hosting their 40th Annual Threshing Festival on Saturday and Sunday.

This year’s event marks a return to their traditional two day format, something that hasn’t happened since 2019. President Alan Andal said they hosted a mini festival in September 2021, which was quite successful, but there’s no replacing the real thing.

“I’m just glad to see all of the people coming out,” Andal said on Saturday. “Hopefully everybody has had a good time, and everybody that should try and come out tomorrow.”

Last year’s mini-festival ran for four hours. There were no gate fees, with organizers instead preferring to rely on donations.

At the time the Vintage Power Machines was struggling with finances and volunteer numbers. The mini festival helped bring in some new blood, and keep the club on firm footing. However, Andal said they’ll need a bit more support if the festival is going to last another 40 years.

“A lot of the old people that used to help us are getting too old now,” he explained. “We are starting to get a few more younger members back in again, and some of the guys are able to do a little more that the older guys have had to quit on.”

One of the best examples is the vintage saw mill. Andal said a new generation is training under long-time volunteers so they can take over.

“We have got a few new guys there and they are kind of going to take over from the older gentleman that’s helping us with it, Mr. Bodnoski,” Andal explained. “He used to run a sawmill up north near White Swan Lake. He had his own mill there for many years, so we would get a little experience from guys like him.

“Some of the other young guys that are working with us, they are still in their 40s and 50s but they have never done a lot of that until the last couple of years.”

A volunteer checks a piece of equipment during the Vintage Power Machines Museum 40th anniversary Threshing Festival on Saturday. The two-day event continues with vintage tractor pulls on Sunday. — Michael Oleksyn/Daily Herald

Each day at the festival starts with a pancake breakfast and the Saturday one was already a success. Andal expects the Sunday turnout will be even better as drivers arrive with their tractors for the annual vintage tractor pull.

He said the two days give people a taste of what farming life used to be like.

“It’s so different from the combining we do today. You had to throw them on by hand and everything goes through.

“The thing is, in the old days some of them didn’t get it all off in the fall, so the quality of what was there wasn’t as good as it could be, much like what we get when we’re getting it.”

The club is also fundraising and hoping to build a new canteen to replace the original one on the site. They have tents rented for this year and next year, since the canteen will be torn down as soon as this year’s festival ends.

The club has not received provincial or federal grants the last two years so there is not much extra cash on hand. However, Andal said they can still operate day-to-day.

“We did have a family a few years ago donate a nice donation to us,” he explained. “If we would have built three years ago we could have almost put the building up with the money we had.”

Since then, costs have risen and they hope to construct a new canteen in a steady manner.

“This fall we are hoping to get the footings in, the great beam, maybe even the cement floor down and ready to either attempt starting some of the walls and tarp them for the winter,” he explained. As money allows we will (continue).”

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

Saturday’s event featured tractor pull wagon rides for kids, stationary engines, blacksmithing, two threshing demonstrations, the saw mill and their 50 Horsepower J.I. Case Steam Tractor.

“The steam tractor was the one that was at the Exhibition Grounds and it hadn’t run for many years and about seven of my members put in about $6,000 and a lot of major hours restoring it,” Andal said. “We were lucky the boiler didn’t have to be redone or it could have been $100,000.”

The tractor passed inspection two years in a row and remains one of the treasures of the spot.

“It’s nice to have because I think there is only about seven or eight in the province that run, and it’s a 100 year old tractor,” he said.

Sunday will open with the pancake breakfast from 8 a.m. to 11 a.m. and will feature attractions like blacksmithing and the threshing demonstration, which is at 12:30 p.m. and 3 p.m.

The main event on Sunday will be the popular vintage tractor pulls.