Farming Heritage Group Prepares for Summer Show

In preparation for their Summer Antique Tractor, Steam Engine, and Gas Engine Show, members of the Will County Threshermen’s Association held a workday at their new home—the Round Barn Farm Park in Manhattan, Illinois.  Volunteers installed drainage tile for the Park and also worked on setting up a level base for the steam-powered sawmill.

The summer show at the Round Barn Farm will be a homecoming for the Will County Threshermen.  The first threshing bee was held in nearby New Lenox at the Ed Kestel farm on Delaney and Cedar roads in 1963.  Organized by Ed’s brother Ray, the threshing bee was a chance for farmers to celebrate steam power and historic agricultural methods.  Ray Kestel owned steam engines and was a “threshing man”—someone who would travel to farms to do the wheat threshing.  This was before the use of combines which both cut the wheat and thresh it—remove the grain from the chaff.   The Threshermen’s Show was held to get neighbors together during the summer and continue the social and community aspect of threshing even though advances in farming equipment had made threshing unnecessary.

The Will County Threshermen’s Show will take place July 18-21, 2013 at the Round Barn Farm Park on Route 52 in Manhattan, Illinois.  Visitors can step back in time to experience Will County’s agriculture past by viewing antique tractors and watching demonstrations of steam-powered wheat threshing, corn shelling, and saw milling.  The saw milling is a very impressive demonstration where huge logs are sawed down into boards with a giant, steam-powered sawmill.  Visitors can also watch antique tractors plow the fields using 2, 3, and even 6 bottom plows. 

For the antique enthusiast, there will be a flea market filled with a surprising mix of items from the past and craft show with a variety of hand-made goods. For kids, there will be a petting zoo, farm playground, and Kids Games and a Magic Show at noon on Friday the 19th and at 11 a.m. on Saturday the 20th and Sunday the 21st.   The show also features antique cars and trucks and antique gas engines of all kinds.   There will be plenty of food available and the Round Barn Farm Park features an oak grove with a lot of shade, ball fields, and play equipment for the kids.  Come on out and enjoy a day of family-fun and hands-on history!  For more information and a full schedule go to

Steam engines used steam pressure to power wheat threshers
Volunteers from the Will County Threshermen install field tile to provide better water drainage at the Round Barn Farm Park in Manhattan, Illinois
Volunteers from the Will County Threshermen’s Association make a level base for the antique sawmill that will saw logs using steam power at the summer show

Directions to Show : Downloadable Schedule : Downloadable Flyer Home

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