Picture Perfect Day Awaited History

This old steam powered tractor and thresher got back to work Saturday afternoon at the Nelson Pioneer Farm.

Oskaloosa, Iowa – A more perfect day couldn’t have been ordered for Nelson Pioneer Farm and their Fall Festival.

A group of Boy Scouts from Oskaloosa’s Troop 77 raised the flag at the opening ceremony, while a group of Civil War reenactors fired a volley from their muskets. With that, the festival officially began.

Larry Linsley, President of the Mahaska County Historical Society said this year was the 47th annual event and that the weather was the best they have had “in a long time”.

Many things were going on at the same time, corn picking, threshing, candle making and butter making. Those with a sweet tooth could stop by and watch how to make taffy, while picking up a sample for themselves for later.

Linsley said the different things going on were, “Generally a celebration of some of the skills and talents that early farm people used in their daily lives.”

“What ever you like, just wander around and find an event,” said Linsley, who pointed out the many different things going on at any one time.

A popular stop on Saturday was the table top filled with freshly made taffy.

Jim Johnson and his family have been pulling taffy for some time. The recipe came to him from his mothers side of the family, reported as payment on a debt.

The Fall Festival is about the only time you will catch the Johnson’s making taffy outside their home around the holidays.

Jim, his sons Greg and Charley and daughter Lynne, along with several grand kids, make it a three generation affair.

Wife Barb Johnson was also there, helping to wrap each individual piece of confectionery in wax paper.

Linsley said about attendance, “Descent crowd, beautiful day.”

It’s easy to forget that the Nelson Pioneer Farm sits just a few miles out of town, it’s not on a normally traveled route, but Linsley says, “Just come”.

Linsley said that one of the problems the event runs into is the vast array of events that are scheduled this time of year, from football games to other communities having their own events.

Fremont is an example, they held a dutch oven cook-off over the weekend with Saturday being their big day.

Some local politicians were in attendance for hand corn shucking. Guy Vander Linden, Ken Rozenboom, Tom Rielly, along with Larry Sheets were on hand to take part in the ‘celebrity’ portion of the contest.

At about the same time the parade started, working its way down the old highway and turning onto the lane that makes its way past the many buildings on the grounds.

There is still time to visit Nelson Pioneer Farm and enjoy its many artifacts, as they have probably all been put back in place until next year when the museum once again ‘comes to life’.

For more information about the Nelson Pioneer Farm, you can visit their website HERE.

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