The 30th annual Homestead Harvest Days, sponsored by the Highland Historical Society, will be Sept. 8-10 at the Louis Latzer Homestead, 1464 Old Trenton Road, just south of Highland.
The festival is a celebration of history and recognition of the significance of the farming community to America’s growth. It is a three-day journey back in time that features live demonstrations for antique farm machinery and methods, including horse-drawn equipment to steam power.
Things to see include stone crushing, a shingle mill, threshing and separating wheat, saw mill demonstrations, gas engine display, corn shredding and binding, potato digging, plowing, hay loading and baling, barn displays, a windmill and antique fire engines.
The site of the festival is on the grounds of the home Louis Latzer built for his family in 1901. Latzer’s family donated the home and 80-acre farm to the Highland Historical Society in 1976. Tours of the home during Homestead Harvest Days are $2 per person.
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Latzer is credited with perfecting the condensing of milk. He took over the Helvetia Milk Condensing Co. in 1887. The company was later named PET Milk and had 23 plants across the United States. There is a 30-foot long diorama display on the grounds that shows the PET Milk canning process. It can be viewed for an extra $1.
There’s also the Living History area, where re-enactors mingle with festival-goers to give a first-hand look at history. Groups making camp in the area include the 1st South Carolina and 11th Mississippi (Civil War); Territorial Rangers (War of 1812); Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution; 1st Regiment of Foote (The living history Royals), and French Marines of Fort de Chartres.
There will be live music in the pavilion Saturday and Sunday. On Saturday, David Shake will play from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. On Sunday, “Nice ‘n Easy” will perform from 10 a.m. to 1 p.m., followed by the “Chris Tully Trio” from 1 to 3 p.m.
Gateway Dulcimer Society will give performances elsewhere on the grounds from 1 to 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday.
The Parade of Power is an impressive parade of fully operational and restored farm equipment. The parade will occur at 4:30 p.m. Saturday and 3:30 p.m. Sunday. This year’s featured tractor is International Harvester.
The Tractorcade starts at 9 a.m. Sunday. Tractors start at Latzer Homestead and parade into Highland.
A silent auction will be ongoing Saturday and Sunday where you can bid on a variety of historic, collectible and contemporary items. The silent auction is located in the hospitality tent.
There will also be a live farm equipment auction at 10 a.m. Sunday. To consign or donate items, email firstname.lastname@example.org or call 618-654-7957.
Craft & Flea Market
This year’s festival will feature an expanded craft and flea market area that will run all three days. You will be able to find many hand-made items, artisan works, flea market finds. For booth rental forms, email email@example.com.
There will be an informal worship service at 8 a.m. Sunday.
Activities for Children
Homestead Harvest Days will feature many things for children. There will be:
▪ pony rides, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 4 p.m ($5);
▪ a petting zoo, Saturday and Sunday, 10 a.m. to 3 p.m.;
▪ puppet shows, Ron Place will be giving performances at various times on Saturday and Sunday;
▪ a corn box, the kids love this scoop and dump, play and roll area full of corn;
▪ pedal tractor pull, 1:30 p.m. Saturday and Sunday, registration is by weight class;
▪ barrel rides, Saturday and Sunday from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. ($1).
Where to Eat
Home cookin’ is another feature of Homestead Harvest Days.
The Feeding Trough offers breakfast, lunch and supper. Breakfast is served from 7:30 to 10:30 a.m. Choices include coffee, biscuits and gravy, eggs, bacon, sausage, cinnamon rolls and breakfast bowls. Lunch starts and 11 a.m. and is served unitl closing. Choose from brats, burgers, jumbo hot dogs, chicken and noodles, grilled chicken tenders, ham and beans with cornbread, cole slaw, baked beans, potato salad and biscuits.
Norb’s Watering Hole offers sloppy Joes, hot dogs, chips and beverages.
And don’t miss The Sweet Shop I & II for homemade desserts and ice cream and D&T Ol’ Fashion Kettle Corn.
Times & Admission
Admission for children 12 and under is free all three days.
Festival hours on Friday are 7:30 a.m. to 4 p.m; admission is $3.
Saturday and Sunday hours 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and admission $5.
A three-day day pass is $10.