Highland News Leader

Transport back in time at Homestead Harvest Days event in Highland

Learn to cook a traditional Cherokee corn bread

Kathleen Nadeau, of Eastern Abenaki heritage, teaches you how to make a traditional Cherokee corn bread during the Homestead Harvest Days, Latzer Homestead in Highland.
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Kathleen Nadeau, of Eastern Abenaki heritage, teaches you how to make a traditional Cherokee corn bread during the Homestead Harvest Days, Latzer Homestead in Highland.

Want to transport back in time to simpler days?

Then Homestead Harvest Days is the right destination to program the DeLorean. In its 32nd year, this annual event covers everything from the area’s first settlers to the early days of mechanized farming, all through working displays, expert craftsmen and historical re-enactors. Moreover, the event is a celebration of history and recognition of the significance of the farming community to America’s growth.

“We’re trying to preserve some of the old history of how things happened,” said Sharon Hargus, coordinator for the event. “We want the next generation to see the history and enjoy it and hopefully we’ll continue to preserve it.”

This year’s event will take place from 7:30 a.m. to 3 p.m. Friday and 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday-Sunday at Latzer Homestead, 1464 Old Trenton Road, Highland.

Admission is $5; children 12 and under are free. People can purchase a three-day pass for $10. Lynn Hargus, Sharon’s husband, is president of the Highland Historical Society. He assists Sharon in several facets of the event, and looks forward to the 32nd annual edition.

“We have our specialty tractor .... this year it’s John Deere. We have a different one every year,” he said. “So there will be a lot of John Deere stuff. We’ll have fire engines out there. They’ll hook up to the pond. We also have a rescued legendary mustang sanctuary Friday, Saturday and Sunday. They’re there just to look at.”

“We also have tours of the old home, and a pet milk factory that’s 30-feet long. This is the only time of the year it runs. There are miniature cans of the pet milk. Hopefully they’ll be able to get it going; it was built in 1947. It’s really neat to watch. There’s really something for everybody.”

Homestead Harvest Days events, activities and fare

As Lynn Hargus noted, the event offers a wide range of activities and food for adults and children. Here is a snapshot of those:

  • Expanded craft and flea market areas: Ongoing;
  • Silent auction: Ongoing Saturday-Sunday;
  • Farm equipment auction: 10 a.m. Sunday;
  • Parade of Power: 3:30 p.m. Saturday-Sunday;
  • Live music in the pavilion: 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. Saturday, David Shake; 1-3 p.m. Saturday-Sunday, Gateway Dulcimer Society; 10 a.m. to 1 p.m. Sunday, Chris Tully Trio; 1-3 p.m. Sunday, Nice n Easy;
  • Living history area: Rope maker; Illinois Territorial Rangers (War of 1812); 1st South Carolina and 11th Mississippi (Civil War); Daughters of the American Revolution and Sons of the American Revolution; French Marines of Fort deChartres; French Army — Regiment de Guyenne;

  • Activities for children (Saturday-Sunday): Petting zoo, puppet show, corn box (instead of a sand box), pedal tractor pull, barrel rides and pony rides;
  • Things to see: Tractor display, stone crushing, shingle mill, threshing and separating wheat, saw mill demonstrations, gas engine display, corn shredding and binding, potato digging and horse and mule plowing, hay loading and bailing, windmill, and antique fire engines; and
  • Where to eat: The Feeding Trough offers breakfast, lunch and supper; Norb’s Watering Hole offers sloppy joes, hot dogs and beverages; The Sweet Shop features homemade desserts and ice cream and D&T Ol’ Fashion Kettle Corn.

“A lot of the people that come are out of town people,” Sharon Hargus said. “They enjoy the kids activities and seeing the old equipment and how it used to work.”

Additionally, Friday is kid’s day, where the fourth graders from Highland and St. Paul schools attend.

“They get a good history tour; a lot of them don’t know what this stuff is,” Lynn Hargus said.

People also can tour the 118-year-old Latzer Homestead for just $2 per individual, with Lynn Hargus serving as the tour guide. For the full schedule of events, visit highlandilhistory.org/harvestdays.html — and, as Lynn Hargus advises, allow plenty of time to see everything.

“Because it’s going to take you a while to see it all,” he said. “For the historical society, we’re trying to preserve the old way of doing things. They’ve brought some equipment out there I don’t ever remember seeing being used.

“That way, they can see some of the old ways of doing things. That’s what the show is about: Preserving old farming methods, so people can see how things used to be done.”