An old-fashioned party in their own backyard

COTTONWOOD – Area residents were ready to step back in time for an old-fashioned harvest celebration at the Bob and Elaine Mohn farm over the weekend. The Mohns were hosting the third annual Heritage Harvest Fest, with music, hayrides, and a chance to enjoy the fine fall weather.

While the Country Squires played classic country and old-time music, visitors listened or got up to dance a waltz or two. Al and Ann Thielges said they were having a good time.

“It’s too beautiful out to stay indoors,” Ann Thielges said.

Besides music, events at the Harvest Fest looked back at the farms of yesteryear, with horse-drawn hayrides and a display of old farm implements. Visitor Roger Dale got one specimen, a hand-powered corn sheller, up and running to help make popcorn. Dale estimated the sheller dated back to the 1920s or 1930s.

“The older ones are wood-framed,” he said.

Dale had also come to the event carrying an antique corn-picking tool, in hopes of joining a hand-picking contest.

Al Thielges said it was interesting to look at some of the machines.

“I recognize some of the old farm machinery. I used some of it myself,” he said, laughing.

The Harvest Fest is something of a home-grown celebration. Bob Mohn has been fixing up buildings on the farm site, in hopes that the “Heritage Ranch” will become a gathering space for special events. One project Mohn said he’s working on is installing a furnace in one building that could then be used for winter or overnight gatherings.

Another new addition to the farm was a team of Suffolk Punch horses Mohn had an opportunity to buy. The mares have an unusually compact size for draft horses, and Mohn said it’s a feature of this rare breed. He planned to put the team to work around the farm.

Mohn said he was happy to see people come out to take part in the Harvest Fest for three years running. But putting on the event wasn’t about him, he said.

“It’s for the people,” Mohn said. “I feel there needs to be more of this,” he said – meaning friends getting together.