SIOUX CENTER—The annual Harvest Festival hosted by the Sioux Center Heritage Board and the Heritage Threshers and Collectors returns Friday-Saturday, Sept. 13-14.
The free festival offers a variety of activities that demonstrate the way of life for pioneers who lived in the area in the late 1800s and early 1900s.
The Harvest Festival started as the Threshing Bee in 1993. As more activities were added, the name of the event changed, but the goal has remained the same throughout its 26 years.
“It’s so important, as we look toward the future to remember where we came from,” said Heritage Board member Colleen Van Berkum. “It’s important for us to remember what our ancestors’ sacrificed for us to be where we are today.
“There are so many comforts we have today — running water, indoor plumbing, our homes — that our ancestors didn’t have that kids might not value if they don’t realize people once didn’t have them,” she continued. “And it’s a reminder of adults, too, to appreciate what we have.”
Activities and demonstrations during the festival, running 9 a.m.-5 p.m. Friday and 10 a.m.-3 p.m. Saturday, include antique machinery and small engine displays, cast iron cooking, sawmill, rope making, orchard cider press, blacksmith shop, Louie’s Leather and Harness Shop, a one-room schoolhouse, a sod hut, a farm house, Roelof’s General Store, a tree walk with more than 60 kinds of trees and a sorghum press.
Visitors can find rug weaving, cream separating, a potter and candle making in the barn.
A toy tractor display and musical instruments by Gary Vander Hart of Sioux Center will be in the multipurpose building on the Sioux County fairgrounds adjacent to Heritage Village and “Old time music” can be heard in the machine shed.
“We’re excited,” Van Berkum said. “We, as volunteers, love it as a chance not only to play Little House on the Prairie for a couple of days but to show people, especially kids, what life used to be like. It’s truly fun for us to share our history, hear kids asking questions, seeing grandparents share memories of their own childhood. It’s so much fun for all generations.”