Approaching the gates of the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion, I could see tendrils of steam floating toward the clouds and hear the steam engine whistles loud and clear. Upon walking through the gates I noticed an actual steam-powered train heading my way on the tracks, blowing its whistle as it came closer. I instantly felt like I was transported back into time.
I started walking around the grounds and took notice of the long rows of refurbished antique tractors, something I’m sure my family would’ve enjoyed since we’re a family of farmers going back for generations. I could see the pride on the owners' faces as they stood near to their dear tractors.
Moving on through the grounds, I then came to the old steam engines that were really working! Steam was blowing from the engines, and the sound was almost deafening if you stood too close. I loved every second of it. To think that these machines we were once used to power rural America, is fascinating to me.
I kept moving through the grounds and decided to board the trolley that would take me to the log village, only accessible by the trolley. The trolley itself was once used in Chicago for a stint in the early 1900’s and was gorgeous on the inside. I hopped off at the log village and wandered around. They had buildings like a log barn, an old schoolhouse, and a blacksmith shop. Families were everywhere at this stop, with their kids interacting with the interpreters and playing old time games. They had sarsaparilla and cream soda available for purchase at one of the food stands. I was very tempted but decided to save my calories for the homemade ice cream instead.
I boarded a different trolley to head back to the main grounds and took the loop around to get back where I started. The route we took bordered the campgrounds and they looked to be pretty full with tents, and campers alike.
When I arrived back on the main grounds I meandered through the buildings that were holding stationary engines that would’ve powered machines in old factories way back when. In those same buildings were vendors of all sorts selling their goods like homemade fudge, t-shirts, and trinkets. I spied the homemade ice cream churned by an old engine that I saw before. I made sure to get a strawberry cone, and it was delicious.
Knowing I would have to leave soon I made my way over to their historic village for a show, including another that I would’ve loved to stay for as well. (It mimics a train held up by bandits.) My mother-in-law would’ve loved the quilt exhibit in one of the buildings displaying hand stitched historic quilts. You could also sit down and stitch into the quilt they were making for this year’s Reunion.
On my way out to the main gates, I noticed buildings full of old cars and trucks. So I did a quick run-through. Some of the owners of these prized antiques were sitting nearby and would talk to anyone that had any questions for them.
On my way out of town, I noticed the town square was abuzz with vendors and more vendors. People all over the place! On my way out, I drove by another business, and their parking lot was full of still more vendors. I hadn’t realized that the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion basically takes over entire the town of Mount Pleasant for the weekend.
I loved my first time at the Midwest Old Threshers Reunion. I wish I had been able to spend more time there, and (I hope) I've talked my husband into going as a family next year. If you’re looking to experience history in Iowa- this was a great place to do it!
Read more about the event here!