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Wednesday, 16 August 2017 07:00

Harvest Days bring the old-fashioned lifestyle back into style

Written by  Demi Knight
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Picture Butte is bringing the old days back in style with this year’s Harvest Days. The annual community event, which was originally formed in 1982 to show the newer generations what the harvest was like in the past, is back for its 35th year Aug. 18-20.


Pieter van Ewijk, general manager at the Coyote Flats Pioneer Museum, says these days have been a staple event to the community for many years.
“The first Harvest Days were held in August 1982, which showcased old-fashioned ways of harvesting crop and an opportunity to see and participate. It caught on and has been a feature at our museum for the last 35 years.”
The Harvest Days, which are put on each year by the Prairie Tractor and Engine Society Museum at the Coyote Flats Pioneer Village, depict to the audience what life was like in the past so more people can be aware of the origins of the Picture Butte community.
The weekend hosts activities for the community to participate and observe such as tractor and horse pulls, as well as old-fashioned harvesting demonstrations such as using an old tractor, threshing and stooking, and a belt-drive and wooden threshing machine.
“Most people have never seen harvesting like this, plus they can come close up to it. We also host a ‘Parade of Power’, where we run old cars, trucks and tractors through our little village. This year we anticipate participation from our MP, MLA, County Reeve and the Mayor of Picture Butte,” says van Ewijk of this year’s Harvest Days.
Last year, almost 1,900 people attended the three-day event and not just locals, but also people from the surrounding towns and villages.
van Ewijk says over the past years the event has most definitely expanded its reach thanks to aggressive advertisement and has also seen a large influx of visitors from the neighbouring city of Lethbridge.
“We have certainly been getting more people from the region, especially from the city of Lethbridge and to a smaller extent people from across southern Alberta.”
The Harvest Days, not only work to showcase elements from the community’s past, but also spends the weekend hosting a plethora of activities for people to participate in and enjoy including kiddie train rides, exploration options of historic sites, food vendors, camping and much more.
Another activity the weekend boasts is the annual tractor pull competition, where competitors come from across the province and bring their own equipment to participate.
“For the tractor pull, we get competitors from Pincher Creek, Fort Macleod, Medicine Hat and Okotoks/High River, and all areas in between. We are expecting 45 tractors to participate,” adds van Ewijk.
The Harvest Days coincides with the annual Picture Butte Jamboree Days, offering the community even more fun for participants to enjoy with a family street dance, fireworks, a slow-pitch tournament and more.   
This year’s annual Jamboree and Harvest days fall on Aug. 18-20 with an entry fee of $10 for adults, $5 for youths under the age of 18 and children under the age of 12 getting free entrance.
With the high numbers of participants the weekend has been seeing in recent years, van Ewijk says this is a chance for the museum to raise funds for the year ahead. 
“This is the only event in the year where we charge an admission, and it brings in a lot of money for us towards maintenance, programs and hosting other events.”
More information on the upcoming Harvest Days and the current schedule for the event can be found at: www.prairietractor.ca.

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