Highland News Leader

Highland farm festival is bushels of fun

A participant in last year’s Homestead Harvest Days using a team of horses to disc a field at the Latzer Homestead in Highland.
A participant in last year’s Homestead Harvest Days using a team of horses to disc a field at the Latzer Homestead in Highland. News Leader

Homestead Harvest Days in Highland is three days of hands-on history. Attendees can learn about everything from the area’s first settlers to the early days of mechanized farming, all through working displays, expert craftsmen and historical reenactors.

Now in its 29th year, the show is still bringing in new features.

The gas engine area, which has doubled in size, has earned its own large tents. Displayers come from a three-state area and bring a variety of engines.

“The Bond County Collectors Club will be bringing a large collection different engines. These engines ran pumps, grinders, grain shellers, washing machines, and line shafts. Whatever the farmer needed,” said Harold Bray, chairman.

The usual events in the “Back 20” acres will continue this year. Aaron Whitworth, Harvest Days co-chairman, will be the head sawyer this year. His crew comes from the local area. The steam- driven sawmill is always a favorite attraction. He hopes to have several steam engines available for working displays.

Of course, there will also be the wheat threshing, stone crushing, shingle mill and wheat grinding.

Other demonstrations include hay baling, corn shelling and shredding and the children’s favorite, Gerry’s Potato Patch.

Weather permitting, horses and mules, will be plowing the fields.

Farm equipment auction

A farm equipment auction to benefit the Highland Historical Society will be held on Sunday, Sept. 11. Virgil Straeter, auctioneer, will drop the gavel at 10 a.m. Admission to the grounds will be free until auction time.

Items for the auction may be consigned or donated. The percentage paid is 20 percent for sales up to $99, 15 percent for $100-$300 and 10 percent for items over $300 (maximum $300 per one item). To register equipment and machinery call (618) 210-1222.


When you visit Harvest Days, expect good food. The festival is known for its homemade fare.

It all begins with breakfast at The Feeding Trough at 7:30 a.m. and continues through lunch and supper. New this year is the addition of barbecue chicken tenders and the fried bologna sandwich.

There will still be the usual chicken and noodles, cornbread, brats, hotdogs and burgers.

And don’t forget dessert. There will be pies, cakes, hand-dipped ice cream and novelties, plus root beer floats.

Children’s activities

A variety of activities will be on the “Front 20.” Children can enjoy the free petting zoo. A puppeteer will perform at various times during the two days. The pedal tractor pull will be held on Saturday and Sunday, along with the pony rides. A favorite for children and adults is the corn box for shoveling and scooping. The barrel rides, built by Carl Loyet, a Harvest Day member, will run from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m., each day.

Other Events

Also on the Front 20, for adults, there will be a silent auction, tours of the Latzer Homestead, a craft and flea market, entertainment, vintage fire engines on display, and the ever-popular Living History Area. Several antique cars will also be on display near the pond area.

An ecumenical church service will be held on the grounds at 8 a.m. Sunday, conducted by Pastor Mark Runner.

The “Parade of Power” tractorcade through Highland will pull out from the festival grounds at 9 a.m. on Sunday, and then the equipment auction will begin at 10 a.m.

Homestead Harvest Days At A Glance

Dates: Sept. 9-11

Location: 1464 Old Trenton Road, south of Highland.

Festival Hours & Admission Cost: Friday is the set up day, with demonstrations for the Highland Community Schools fourth- grade students. The public is invited but the grounds close at 2 p.m. that day. Admission is $3. On Saturday and Sunday, the grounds open at 7:30 a.m. and close at 6 p.m. on Saturday and 4 p.m. on Sunday, after the Parade of Power. Admission is $5 per person. A full three-day pass is $8. For children 12 and under, admission is free.