Plowing the Potato Patch

An Up-Close Look at Days Gone By at the Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show

Farm Girl
My self-proclaimed farm girl with her favorite tractor.

A whopping 14,400 people attended the 2015 Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show in rural Albert City, Iowa. My family was among those in attendance for our first ever experience at the three day show dedicated to the preservation and display of agricultural and pioneer equipment. The show celebrated its 45th year and was impressively run solely by volunteers. We had fun watching many hands-on demonstrations, eating great food, looking at the displays, and even getting our hands a little dirty along the way.

While over 600 tractors, 109 vintage vehicles, and 60 gas engines were on display, the show was not just about looking at farm equipment. There was action everywhere. As soon as we parked our vehicle, we hopped on a wagon pulled by an old tractor. Horses pulled trolleys and wagons full of guests through the grounds. The beautiful animals were also put to work pulling equipment for farming demonstrations.

You didn’t have to be a farmer to appreciate the displays and demonstrations either. There were two daily parades, tractor pulls, local musical talent, over 40 crafters, and acres of family-friendly entertainment! I can’t even begin to list all the exhibits and demonstrations available for viewing, so I’m going to share some of our favorite highlights from the day. To get a full list of events from this year’s show, check out the website or to stay up to date on upcoming events, find Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show on Facebook.

Yummy Food

Enjoying our Ice Cream Treat
Enjoying their ice cream treat on a giant rocking horse in the wood shop.

Many food booths were at the event feeding the masses from sun-up to sun-down. We introduced the girls to funnel cakes for the first time. They were apprehensive at first, but let’s just say it was gone in record time, and we were all licking the powdered sugar goodness from our fingers! Later in the day we needed reprieve from the heat and just had to try out the homemade ice cream everyone was talking about. The line at the Li’l Red Barn moved quickly and soon we had a heaping cup of creamy vanilla ice cream. I’m not usually a plain vanilla girl, but this was heavenly stuff! I see why they went through nearly 240 gallons of this delightful treat in just one day.


Work Horses
The horses taking a break from working in the field gave us time to admire them up close.

We enjoyed watching the horses in their various capacities throughout the day. From pulling wagons, threshing, and plowing these animals and their human counterparts showed us what ‘horse power’ really means. The FFA Petting Barn was also popular with our girls. Kittens, goats, and other animals were showcased to the delight of many children. If it were allowed (by us and the show), I think one of my girls would have come home with a goat. She was in love with those silly things!


Flour Mill
We watched wheat turn into fine flour. The machine used to grind it was over 80 years old.

Demonstrations of all kinds took place during the day. We watched clothes be wrung out on an old washing machine, saw brooms be made, and witnessed a machine made in 1933 grind flour. A blacksmith shop and saw mill were also busy all day long. Old machinery and horses were used to demonstrate corn shelling, plowing, threshing, well drilling, and much more. Even as a born-and-raised farm girl, I was fascinated to watch these things be done without the use of today’s modern technology.

Kid’s Activities

Taking a Break
We took a break on the porch of the old farm house to enjoy the prizes from the gunny sack race.

Kids were not forgotten at the Threshermen’s Show. There were organized games in the afternoon for the little ones. Our girls took part in a fun gunny sack race and were rewarded with suckers. They also enjoyed walking through a building full of old dolls. An area of sand-diggers was even set up for kid’s digging delight. Even displays not meant specifically for kids became interactive. As we looked the Civil War Camps, one of the gentlemen kindly allowed the girls to wear his jacket, hat, and bags for an impromptu dress-up opportunity. We all had so many lessons in history throughout the day. But the most anticipated of all kid’s activities was the potato patch! (And it deserves its very own heading!)

Potato Patch

Potato Patch
Waiting patiently for the potato patch to be plowed. The fun was about to begin!

The potato patch proved to be full of fun and huge spuds! All kids were called to the field in the afternoon and were each given a bag to collect their potato prizes. As teams of horses plowed the rows of potatoes, collective ‘oohs’ and ‘ahhs’ were heard from the crowd when mounds of potatoes pushed their way through the rich soil. The kids were ready to run to the field on the word ‘go’ to collect their very own taters. Our girls each got one big potato and were happy with their pickings. The kiddos waited patiently for more potatoes to be plowed, and then it was a dash to into the dirt again. After doing this a few times, the girls got the hang of potato finding and each ended up with an overflowing sack of the prized spuds.

With dirt on our hands (and in our shoes, and in our hair, and pretty much everywhere) from the fun time in the potato patch, we decided to haul our produce to the truck and call it a day. It was hard to leave a place that transported us to a magical time we have only heard about-a time that came alive all because of the Albert City Threshermen and Collectors Show.

Check out a photo gallery of our fun adventure here.

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