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Keith Van Heuveln of Kerkhoven gets the blacksmith shop ready Friday at the site of the Atwater Threshing Days. He and other demonstrators who will participate in the event were at the site Friday to prepare. Atwater Threshing Days is open from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. today and Sunday. (Tribune photo by Ron Adams)

Atwater Threshing Days to feature new exhibits, old favorites this weekend

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news Willmar, 56201
Willmar Minnesota 2208 Trott Ave. SW / P.O. Box 839 56201

ATWATER — This year's Atwater Threshing Days will feature a machine dating back to the turn of the century: a steam engine.

A family from Buffalo, all licensed in running steam engines, will be demonstrating the engine at the 27th annual Atwater Threshing Days, which begins today and goes through Sunday.

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"The steam engine pulling a gang plow will be the real highlight of our show," said Sheila Bosch, a member of the Atwater Threshing Club, which hosts the festival each year. "It's over 100 years old and still running. It just brings back a real nostalgic feel."

This year's event will also feature Allis-Chalmers tractors and equipment, and the women's feature will be vintage toys.

Longtime festival-goers will notice a new addition to the grounds this year as well. A church, modeled to reflect the early 1900s, was recently completed. It was built with many reclaimed pieces, including a steeple and stained glass windows from a church in Rosendale. A service will be held at the new church at 8 a.m. Sunday.

"We didn't know if the church would be ready this year or not, so we're very excited," Bosch said. "We've had our church services outside in the past. If it rained, that was a challenge."

In addition to the church, there is also a schoolhouse, barn, blacksmith, printer shop, general store, garage, lawyer's office and wood shop on the grounds.

This year's Atwater Threshing Days will also offer the usual favorites, including threshing, corn shredding, flour mill, rug making and butter churning demonstrations.

"We really encourage people to ask questions if they see something they don't understand," Bosch said. "Some of it does look very strange. We're more than happy to explain what we're doing and how it works."

There will be live bluegrass and gospel music at the event, as well as a tractor parade at 1 p.m. both days.

The festival, which is located 1 1/4 miles east of Atwater, goes from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday and Sunday. Admission is $5 for adults and free for children 12 and under. Food will be available on the grounds, including a Lions pancake breakfast at 7:30 a.m. Sunday.

"We are very interested in keeping history alive, especially the history of diversified farming in this area," Bosch said of the two-day event. "That agricultural history is deeply ingrained in all of us."

For more information on this year's Atwater Threshing Days, visit atwaterthreshingdays.net or call Bosch at 320-796-2393.

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