What Is Old Threshers?
Midwest Old Threshers Reunion is a very unique event in Mt. Pleasant, Iowa. There are other “reunions” where people bring steam traction engines, tractors, and small engines to show them off and have a good excuse to get them out and play with them. However, Mt. Pleasant’s event has a broad array of different events and interests gathered in one place. Besides the machinery list above there are groups for old cars, old trucks, antiques, horse teams, an active printers hall, demonstration of equipment like a veneer saw, a threshing machine, and cooking down sorghum, an antique restored steam carousel, quilts, antique dolls, button collectors, a big craft show, trains (you can ride in), trolley cars still on their track (you can ride in), a group demonstrating life in the 1840s in the log cabin village fairly seriously and a group demonstrating life in the late 19th century not so seriously (desperadoes who steal candy & dance hall girls who stay fully dressed), a children’s game area including the chance to drive an actual tractor through an obstacle course and pony rides, fair food, big country music shows, and a theater museum mostly devoted to the traveling shows of the mid-19th to early 20th century. Come visit every year on an expanded Labor Day Weekend. This year it’s August 29 – September 2, 2019.
Events Keep Coming All Year
With all this going on the reunion continues to burst at the seams, but that’s only one week a year. They have a whole bunch of other events through the year.
This isn’t their full schedule, but these are the ones I think you might find interesting.
Theatre Seminar: April 12-14, 2019
One of the departments of the organization is a traveling theater museum. It covers things like tent rep, opera houses, show boats, and Uncle Tom’s Cabin shows.
Steam School : May 4 – 5, 2019
How to drive a steam engine like those used to work threshing machines. They are only offering one class this year.
Trolley School: June 8, 2019
Learn how to drive a trolley.
The Bussey Doll Event : June 22, 2019
The event is for doll collectors and those interested in dolls. There are speakers on various topics, everyone gets a gift doll, and there are vendor tables. My post about the year they did a Laura Ingalls Wilder theme is one of my most read.
Henry County Fair: July 17 – 22, 2019
A county fair like the one the James Wilder family attended in Malone, New York.
Summer Theater Neil and Caroline Schaffner play: “Three In A Bed”:
July 26-27, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. July 28th at 2:30 p.m.
August 2-3, 2019 at 7:30 p.m. and again during the 2019 Reunion
Every summer they once again put on one of the plays once popular with traveling theaters to give you a taste of late 19th/early 20th century entertainment.
Reunion Event: August 29 – September 2, 2019
Annual Midwest and Great Northern Printer’s Fair: September 11 – 14, 2019
It is specifically geared to people practicing or curious about letterpress printing for letterpress printers, from beginners to professionals. They use the extensive collection of printing equipment gathered in the printing part of Museum B. If you want to know about how they ran the paper in De Smet or how Carrie helped run a newspaper this would be a great event to plan for.
They also run events every year for Halloween when the Midwest Haunted Rails shows you a ghost of a good time and for Christmas when you can take the North Pole Express to visit Santa Claus. Dates are set later in the year.
I hope you come and visit Mt. Pleasant for the best reunion anywhere or any of their other great events.
Sarah S. Uthoff is a nationally known Laura Ingalls Wilder authority and has presented at five of the Wilder homesites, many times at the Herbert Hoover Presidential Library and Museum, many conferences and numerous libraries, museums, and events around the Midwest. She is the main force behind Trundlebed Tales fighting to bring the History, Mystery, Magic, and Imagination of Laura Ingalls Wilder and other greats of children’s literature and history to life for a new generation. How can you help? Attend one of her programs, schedule one yourself, watch her videos, listen to her podcast, look at her photos, and find her on Facebook , Twitter , Google+, LinkedIn , SlideShare, and Academia.edu . Professionally she is a reference librarian at Kirkwood Community College and former director of the Oxford (Iowa) Public Library.