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Heritage Center throws turn-of-the-20th-century cider and threshing fest

October 16th, 2010 Posted in Arts and Life

By Satenik Sargsyan

CACHE COUNTY–The American West Heritage Center celebrated harvest on Friday like it was the 1900’s at its annual Fall Harvest Festival.

The festival is a tradition from the times the pioneers celebrated harvesting as a big family.

“We do threshing, cider-making, jam-making and all the things our ancestors would have done,” said center programming coordinator Anjanette Dahle. “It’s a great event that gives people a feel for what the pioneers’ lives looked like.”

According to Dahle, 1,500 people attended the festival to be a part of a number of activities from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. and included cooking on wood, hands-on milking, corn shelling, gathering eggs, making apple cider and scones.

“Apple cider-making and getting lost in the corn maze were my favorite,” said visitor Symone Caldwell. “I am definitely going to try my cider-making skills at home.”

Although pony riding and apple cider-making were huge hits, the most popular activity was riding the steam engine wagon where people can take a break from walking and feel retro, driving around the center, Dahle said.

A 1911 J. I. Case steam engine is available for the public exclusively at the center. Aircraft mechanic Eric Wise, who volunteers to drive the engine, said that he drove about a thousand people on Friday.

“We give tours to as many people as we can fit on the wagon,” Wise said. “This model toy can hold up to a hundred ton.”

The engine runs on wood and needs constant refilling with water and wood, which delayed the tours and resulted in queues of people waiting for their turn into early 1900’s.

The steam engine is only run on the property of the center. Wise compared the engine to a “bodybuilder who goes on a joy walk,” as the capabilities of this retro machine can’t be exploited on the roads.

Entrance to the festival is free. However, anyone who would like to go on a corn maze or the haunted hollow has to pay.

“The profits that we accumulate from the event keep the center running,” Dahle said. “Because American West Heritage Center is a non-profit facility, everything we make here goes back to keeping the center running.”


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