A sunny Har­vest Fes­ti­val at GPM

The Glengarry News - - News - BY MAR­GARET CALDBICK News Staff

There have been un­lucky years with weather on Har­vest Fes­ti­val week­end but not last Sun­day when 1,000 peo­ple en­joyed a spec­tac­u­lar sunny day on the grounds of Dun­ve­gan’s Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum, roam­ing through dis­plays and ven­dors and watching demon­stra­tions of pi­o­neer and her­itage farm life.

Joan Pelzer of Regina was vis­it­ing with her brother, Ken­neth Oma, who lives on the 4th of Kenyon and says that from now on she in­tends to time her vis­its to co­in­cide with the fes­ti­val.

“I didn’t even know it ex­isted,” said Mrs. Pelzer, paus­ing out­side the Roger Hamelin blacksmith shop where the rhythm of smith Pa­trick Tay­lor’s ham­mer strik­ing the anvil added to the gen­eral am­biance.

Mrs. Pelzer was joined by her niece Lau­rie and her hus­band Glenn Hay from Lochiel with their two boys. “It’s so un­ex­pected and won­der­ful and there is so much to see,” she mar­velled.

In fact, there was so much go­ing on everywhere you looked that fes­ti­val-go­ers needed to keep an ear out for vol­un­teer town crier Wes Libbey to keep pace.

There were 15 old time ru­ral life demon­stra­tions and 25 her­itage ar­ti­sans on site in­clud­ing leather­worker Lynn Mac­nab in pe­riod dress sur­rounded by her furs and skins and ex­plain­ing skin­ning and tan­ning to the con­stant crowd around her dis­play.

Back to town crier town crier Wes Libbey, a re­tired en­gi­neer and past pres­i­dent of the S,D&G His­tor­i­cal So­ci­ety—when Mr Libbey wasn’t ring­ing his bell and call­ing out events, he was drawn to the agri­cul­tural demon­stra­tions where the largest as­sort­ment of thresh­ers, steam en­gines and an­tique gas trac­tors the fes­ti­val has ever pre­sented let peo­ple see the past in mo­tion.

Tom Quin­nelle from Hunt­ing­ton, Que­bec was among the Old En­gine types demon­strat­ing his vin­tage Case M model 45 steam en­gine, its shrill whis­tle blow­ing when a blast of steam fired up through the smoke­stack. The old Case was pow­er­ing a vin­tage Fer­gu­son thresher that Gord Hadley from Van­kleek Hill found in pieces in the woods out­side St. Elmo and re­stored af­ter 700 hours of work.

Mr. Hadley pointed to a booth nearby where a dis­play ex­plained the his­tory of the Fer­gu­son Thresher Com­pany of Maxville.

Mem­bers of the Fer­gu­son fam­ily – in­clud­ing his grand­son and great-grand­son – were on hand to an­swer ques­tions about James Fer­gu­son, the bril­liant St. Elmo farmer who built his first thresher in 1874. Mr. Fer­gu­son sat around thrash­ing his grain with a heavy hand flail by in­vent­ing a rev­o­lu­tion­ary de­vice pow­ered by horses that would thrash up to 1,000 bushels a day.

His thresh­ers were soon in de­mand and he built a fac­tory on Marl­bor­ough Street in Maxville that built among the best grain sep­a­ra­tors of the day un­til 1954 and sup­plied the Cana­dian De­part­ment of Agri­cul­ture.

The orig­i­nal scale model of the first Fer­gu­son, built in 1881, was on dis­play, a beau­ti­ful item in mint con­di­tion still in the Fer­gu­son fam­ily. The toy-like model was used to ap­ply for ma­chine’s orig­i­nal patent.

There was food and live mu­sic, a har­vest mar­ket ta­ble, rare breeds farm an­i­mals, a na­tive peo­ple’s teepee and in­ter­pre­tive area, chil­dren’s ac­tiv­i­ties, sheep shear­ing, and so many other sights that it took the sound of far away bag­pipes and the Quigley High­landers Pipes and Drums to alert peo­ple that the horse pa­rade was about to be­gin.

Horse pa­rade or­ga­niz­ers Mar­garet MacMil­lan and her daugh­ter Sarah Dalby did a splen­did job lin­ing up the en­tries, and the beau­ti­ful car­riages and shiny-coated horses and ponies made for a stun­ning sight. There was even a beau­ti­ful milk­white 5 1/2-month-old rare breeds Park calf named Winny, as tame as a pet dog, who ended up calmly lead­ing her owner, El­wood Quinn from Rare Breeds Canada, the length of the pa­rade.

There were so many mem­o­rable en­tries among the 20-some car­riages and many out­rid­ers, but one car­riage re­ceived spe­cial men­tion from the an­nouncer. Roland Massie at the reins of Gurty, an 18 year-old black Stan­dard­bred, got a cheer from the crowd when it was an­nounced that the day be­fore was his 90th birth­day. His an­tique buggy was a four-wheeler built in Alexan­dria at the Munro & McIn­tosh Car­riage Com­pany.

A stun­ning early fall day and the ef­forts of no fewer than 175 vol­un­teers, ar­ti­sans, demon­stra­tors and pa­rade par­tic­i­pants, in­clud­ing mem­bers of the Maxville Fire De­part­ment on park­ing de­tail, in­sured that this year’s 18th an­nual Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum was among the best in its his­tory.


HAR­VEST FES­TI­VAL: Here are some scenes from the Har­vest Fall Fes­ti­val, which took place at the Glen­garry Pi­o­neer Mu­seum in Dun­ve­gan on Sun­day. Above, Tom Quin­nelle of Hunt­ing­ton, Qc, stands at the con­trols of his vin­tage Case M model 45 steam en­gine...

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