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Barn dance, threshing event planned in Roberts

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Barn dance, threshing event planned in Roberts
River Falls Wisconsin 2815 Prairie Drive / P.O. Box 25 54022

St. Croix Valley Collector's Association is hosting a barn dance and threshing bee event in the Roberts Village Park this weekend.

The St. Croix Valley Collector's Association is an organized group whose members collect various antique farm-related equipment and host an annual Threshing Bee.

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SCVCA Vice President Joshua Sazama said the event started when Bob Bjerstadt wanted to have a 50th birthday party for his younger brother, Dick.

"For a different source of entertainment, Bob decided to pull some of their old farm equipment out of the shed and put on some equipment demonstrations," Sazama said.

The event started out as a small group of family members and close friends to the Bjerstadt family.

"The event went over so well that they invited a few neighbors the following year and eventually opened it to the public," Sazama said. "Today there are 115 active members and it's open for anyone to join the club or attend the Threshing Bee.

History

Sazama says threshing originated many years ago.

"As the older generations know it, neighbors would gather in the mid- to late-summer to harvest their grain (oats, barley, wheat). Threshing machines would separate the grain from the plant (today we know this machine as a combine). Since this was such a labor intensive process, it would take a big group of men to thresh hundreds of acres throughout the season. Even though it was hard work, neighbors worked together to harvest the grain, the ladies competed to prepare huge, mouthwatering meals and everyone had a strong sense of accomplishment. It brought neighbors and communities together," Sazama said.

The SCVCA Threshing Bee is always the third weekend of August. Planning for the event begins in early spring when a field is tilled and seeded into oats. Toward the end of July a grain binder is used to make grain bundles and the bundles are shocked. After the shocks dry and cure, the bundles are loaded onto wagons and used to run through the threshing machine. Planning and organizing committees for this event continue through the summer until the event.

On Saturday, Aug. 20, at 8 p.m. SCVCA hosts a Barn Dance in the park. Trigger Happy performs live country music for the dance.

"It's a great opportunity for friends, neighbors and newcomers to enjoy live music, dance and socialize. The dance is supported by donations from attendees," Sazama says.

Preparation for the threshing bee begins early Sunday morning, and threshing and exhibits start at 10 a.m. Tractors and other farm-related equipment will be on display all day. Other farm tractors and machinery are organized for demonstrations such as threshing, straw baling, corn shelling, corn shredding and a saw mill.

"The demonstrations are a great opportunity to educate attendees to learn about past farming methods used by farmers several generations ago. These methods are very important to the history of agriculture, especially in our strong, rich agricultural community," Sazama said.

Other events are a kid (pedal) tractor pull, slow tractor race, silent auction, dinner and a parade. The slow tractor race is a competition for anyone that brings an antique farm tractor to see who can get their tractor to go the slowest.

"Any children that come can enjoy the farm equipment demonstrations, kid tractor pull, homemade ice cream and the parade," said Sazama.

Mid-day Sunday there is a delicious meal. A pig is donated and roasted, sweet corn is donated and cooked, and attendees are asked to bring a dish to pass. There are many excellent dishes of food prepared and shared along with two club members' homemade ice cream. Beverages will also be available.

The parade begins around 2 p.m. Sunday. Anyone that provided equipment for display can enter it into the parade. Information about the equipment is announced as it passes in front of the announcer stand.

This event hasn't always been in Roberts.

"Typically this event is hosted on a farm near River Falls however it was decided to move the location of this event to the Roberts Village Park," said Sazama. "The Roberts Village Park is a great facility and we are able to work closely with the Lion's Club to host this event."

SCVCA appreciates the Village of Roberts and the Roberts Lions Club for helping to make the event possible, said SCVCA member Tom Lubich.

Sazama says the barn dance and threshing bee is a great event for people and families to attend.

"It's a chance to meet new people, learn more about the history of farming methods, ask friendly people agricultural-related questions, understand the importance of agriculture in the community and enjoy a fantastic home cooked meal," he said.

For more information about the event in Roberts, contact Pete Lubich at 715-425-1367 or Tom Lubich at 715-262-5807 or email svc.collectassoc@gmail.com.

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