Five things to do at the Rock River Thresheree
EDGERTON Anyone near Thresherman's Park south of Edgerton will soon hear the steam-powered engines chugging.
The Rock River Thresheree returns Friday through Monday.
In its 56th year, the Thresheree's hundreds of engines and implements—and in some cases, the folks running them—keep getting older. But the action at the Thresheree never runs out of steam.
Here are five things to see at this year's Thresheree:
1. Living history village: Organizers should consider calling part of Thresherman's Park "Mill Hill." The grounds is a veritable working village, with dozens of experienced craftsmen and Thresheree members staffing a miniature sawmill, a shake shingle mill (with shingles for sale), and a sorghum mill—to name a few exhibits.
There's also a blacksmith shop, and people can witness the chaff-flying and racket-making of up to four vintage threshing machines operating at once.
2. The food: There are dozens of choices. In addition to all-purpose carnival fare such as funnel cakes and ice cream, the Thresheree dishes up its own signature favorites. Mainstays include a corn boil with quarter pound, all-beef brats and pork chop sandwiches.
A new addition: Old World-recipe apple dumplings.
3. The oddities: Catch a glimpse of working turn-of-the-century conveniences such as the circa-1900 "cataract" washing machine. It's a copper tub clothes washer designed to rock back and forth, instead of agitating like a modern washer.
Organizers say the washer was made with gas burners on the bottom for discerning, late Victorian-era farmers who wanted their grubby overalls cleaned on the "hot cycle."
4. The raw power: At 2 p.m. every day of the Thresheree, hundreds of steam engines and tractors dating from the early 1900s through the 1940s organize into a "Parade of Power" around the park. Organizers say there are barely enough Thresheree members to drive all of the blatting, chugging beasts.
5. The tunes: The Thresheree takes steam power to new levels. The park has a classic, steam-powered calliope that originally was used for special events in San Francisco.
The steam organ does more than toot "Tie a Yellow Ribbon 'Round the Ol' Oak Tree." It's loud. So loud that a prison warden once complained that he could hear the calliope all the way out at Alcatraz Island.
At the time, it was being played at an event in downtown San Francisco.
If you go
What: Rock River Thresheree. A living history festival all Labor Day weekend with antique steam engines, tractors and implements, a working village, food, a flea market and more.
Where: Thresherman's Park, 51 E. Cox Road, Edgerton.
When: 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, Aug. 31, through Monday, Sept. 3.
Cost: $8. Children 12 and under are free. On Friday, senior citizen tickets are $6. Parking is free.
Details: Thesheree grounds are handicap accessible with shuttle rides into the park available. This year, the Thresheree is offering a shuttle service on Saturday and Sunday that runs from Milton High School, 114 W. High St., Milton, to Thresherman's Park. For more information, visit thresheree.org.