Wakarusa Vintage Power Show Promises to Entertain and Educate

Writer / Amy Lant-Wenger
Photography Provided

Consider for a moment what it is that defines tradition. What it means to one person. What it means to a family. And what it means to a community.Wakarusa Vintage Power Show

For the past 10 years the town of Wakarusa has created and crafted a means to celebrate its agricultural legacy, along every facet of its revered and respected forms. From the time of its inception as a settlement of the mid-19th century to its present status as a thriving town of nearly 2,000 inhabitants, farming has been one significant constant that has become a symbol of perseverance and pride.

In that spirit, the annual Vintage Power Show has become one of the region’s most anticipated autumn weekends, heralding the season of harvest and advancements in agricultural science. Moreover, it is a celebration of the town’s evolution, from its earliest days when hardscrabble yet tenacious farmers battled an unyielding and unrelenting earth to become successful and enduring pioneers.

This year’s event will be held on Friday, August 18 and Saturday, August 19 at the Wakarusa Historical Museum, located at 403 East Wabash Avenue, just southeast of downtown Wakarusa. The Vintage Power Show is a joint collaboration of the Wakarusa Chamber of Commerce and the Wakarusa Historical Society.

“This is a farming community where most of the people were born and raised with this way of life,” says Todd Scheets, president of the Wakarusa Historical Society. “This event teaches young adults and visitors a way of life that is slowly disappearing – the techniques of manual labor to harvest crops and raise livestock. People will come away with a sense of family and neighbors working together for a common cause to harvest crops and work fields, as demonstrated by threshing and working with hay, which requires team work.”

Originally called Historic Ag Days at its founding in 2013, the name was changed in 2017 to better reflect a broader scope of activities, exhibitions and other features. Each year the showcase honors a longtime manufacturer in the field of agricultural machinery, and for 2023 that company is Oliver Farm Equipment Company.

Wakarusa Vintage Power ShowVisitors to the extensive museum complex will be able to walk among tractors, steam engines, threshers and several other examples of implements that have endured through the span of a century. Spectators can also witness the techniques of primitive farming during a series of demonstrations ranging from threshing to hay baling to corn shelling. Tractors will also take a competitive spin for an old-fashioned tractor pull on Saturday.

Over the course of the weekend there will be other attractions on site, designed to be simultaneously informative and entertaining. The museum has a functioning blacksmith shop where the art of forging iron will be shown. One of the museum’s buildings known as Grandma’s Haus will be open to illustrate the works and wares of a farm family around the turn of the 20th century. Children are invited to take a cruise on a barrel train ride, and then join their families for a taste of freshly pressed apple cider or homemade ice cream. There will also be craft vendors, additional food selections and folk music. Members of the 7th Indiana Light Artillery Civil War re-enactment troupe will be on hand, setting up an encampment and embracing the lifestyle of soldiers from that era.

At the close of the day on Friday, guests will want to stay beyond sunset to watch a most unique light spectacle, the popular Spark Show, which is something of a fireworks display with a farming equipment twist – a homespun spectacle generated by a steam engine.

“After the steam engine is fired up, we feed it with sawdust,” Scheets explains. “As the sawdust burns, it makes the engine hotter, creating the sparks. This is done while the engine is powering a large fan, which is creating a load to make the engine work harder.”

When the festivities begin winding down on Saturday afternoon, a group of tractor drivers will take to the streets of Wakarusa for the much-anticipated tractor parade, which makes its way through the heart of town and around the site of the Waters of Wakarusa before returning to the museum.Wakarusa Vintage Power Show

Admission is free for all ages. To stay apprised of changes and updates to the schedule of events, follow the official page on Facebook by searching “Wakarusa Vintage Power Show.”

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Welcome Back!

Login to your account below

Retrieve your password

Please enter your username or email address to reset your password.

Send me your media kit!

hbspt.forms.create({ portalId: "6486003", formId: "5ee2abaf-81d9-48a9-a10d-de06becaa6db" });