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Sunday, May 24, 2020
Connecting Our Communities

Steaming from yesteryear

The Waterloo County Steam Threshers Reunion returns to Amsey Metzger’s Wallenstein farm

Farm machinery, past and present, will be on display this weekend in Wallenstein.

The Waterloo County Steam Threshers Reunion is back for another year, showcasing past and present Waterloo County industries: steam threshing, antique trucks, cars, tractors and ditching machines.

While times are approximate and dependant on the weather, the events will run from Thursday morning through to Saturday evening.

“Come out and enjoy friends and neighbours,  and see how things were done years ago,” said president and event host Amsey Metzger.

Thursday will kick off with a tractor run starting at Metzger’s farm, and give guests a tractor run brunch.

A full day of fun includes visitors viewing exhibits and displays as well as wagon rides, a hot lunch and children’s activities at midday. The evening sees gospel singing from Robert Horst and Family, an auction sale and the fan favourite corn roast, all on Friday.

“A lot of people rave and rant about how good that corn is,” he said. “It is really good – it is steamed with the steam engine. They put it in a barrel with a hose and within 20 minutes the steam from the steam engine has cooked that whole barrel of corn.”

They then put butter in hot water in a jar to dunk your cob, top it off with some salt and away you go to continue the tradition, he added.

Saturday opens up with a children’s pedal tractor pull, followed by the antique tractor pull and finally the equipment parade before wrapping up at 5 p.m.

Having hosted the annual event for eight years now, Metzger says it brings them joy to know the event is a resource to both celebrate that way of life, while giving back to the community.

“I love antique tractors and machinery. I just love to see all of the people come and enjoy themselves,” he said. “The biggest thing for me is having money left at the end of the show to give back into the community and that’s what we do every year.”

Many models and eras of tractors will be on display at this year’s event.

Since 2005, more than $80,000 has been donated to local charities. This year, Grand River Regional Cancer Centre and Woolwich Sledge Hockey will be recipients.

Larry Zehr, treasurer with the Waterloo County Steam Threshers Reunion, said in January, when choosing who to donate to, they looked at local organizations that do work right in the community.

“We have had a few people that were taken with cancer, so that was one choice,” he said. “I suggested the Woolwich Sledge Hockey, I noticed them as they run a food booth at the Elmira Maple Syrup Festival toy show and [they] seemed like a good choice. Many of the larger organizations either spread the funds around or out of the area and usually get national attention – we like selecting the smaller, local organizations.”

Woolwich Sledge Hockey, a member of the Ontario Sledge Hockey Association, contributes to the development of the sport of sledge hockey through a range of programs designed for persons with disabilities.

Melissa Papaioannou, president of the organization, says they are beyond grateful for being chosen as one of the organizations to receive proceeds.

“I don’t know if they fully understand how much it’ll mean to our community. We are extremely fortunate for them picking us,” she said, noting that any money they receive goes towards providing another individual the opportunity to be on a team in various ways, whether that be towards equipment, registration fees or ice time.

Papaioannou says that while some parents do pay for the required equipment in addition to hockey equipment, at a cost of over $1,000 alone for a sled depending on abilities, the organization relies on fundraising to help provide the opportunity to players.

“Every month we are doing something, trying to keep the cost down for parents for ice time and registration, because it is not an inexpensive sport, by any means,” she said.

Organizers say all of the old favourites will be on display and, with sunny skies in the forecast, they are hoping for another strong turnout this weekend.

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