Remembering Siouxland’s agricultural past, Hanover Historical Village

17 Oct

This summer I attended a once-a-year festival at the Hanover Historical Village. Located in the countryside and set up as a small “working farm” model, volunteers run machines and explain to younger people the hows and whys of last century farming techniques. There was a lunch feed and also bands played for the entertainment of those attending, providing swing music and waltzes for people to dance to.

I love attending these types of festivals because it reminds me of my own childhood growing up on a small farm in Illinois. And remembering my dad out doing chores and what to me seemed a simpler life. Bigger then was not necessary because a small farm could feed a family and make a living. The only thing that has not changed in farming techniques from when my dad farmed to those now farming is the hard work involved. Someone had to be available to get the work done. My dad also milked dairy cows and that was a 2-a-day time investment, along with planting and tending crops and chickens and pigs. It was a full time job.

But like with many current festivals, these older farmers who are explaining the hows and whys of another generation will be gone someday, and will younger farmers even understand or know how these older apparatuses worked? As always, time will tell. But the history and personal stories that come with attending these festivals and hearing about it first-hand will be lost. And that will be a loss for all.

Jerry Mennenga

Sioux City, Iowa

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