History of the Almelund Threshing Show
The first Almelund Threshing Show open to the public was held in 1955. In the early days, the show was held at different farms throughout the area. The show has been held every year except 1966 and 2020.
On the second weekend of August each year, a huge field near Palmdale, Minnesota is transformed with tractors, steam engines, people and music into the Almelund Threshing Show. Palmdale is located on Highway 95 about halfway between North Branch and Taylors Fall. This year’s show will be August 12, 13 and 14th.
The Threshing Show comes from a long tradition originally known as Harvest Bees which were held in communities to commemorate the grain harvest – or the “threshing of the grain”. All the farmers in an area would gather and sometimes move from farm to farm to bring the crops from the fields into storage barns for the winter. Often held over multiple days, these harvest bees included street markets, activity booths, parades and dances… and we think that’s pretty cool even when they are held on some of the hottest days of the year!
When visiting the show, many rural old-timers are reminded of special days from their youth. One such farmer recalls a time in the early 1900’s: “The summer that I was 14, I became one of the threshing crew and was I ever proud. Pa was more interested in the weather and the price and yield of grain, but the crew was mostly interested in what the womenfolk prepared to eat.
When the noon whistle blew, everyone scrambled for the house. First stop was at the long wooden bench near the kitchen door on which stood several tin wash basins for removing the dust and chaff. The crew would slop water on their dirty faces, coming up snorting and blowing. The younger fellows had a community comb placed on the bench for any sprucing up they cared to do.
Many times the neighbor women would come to help prepare the big meal. The girls were good at helping in the kitchen during threshing, especially when they had their eyes on some good looking member of the crew. These girls would bring in huge bowls of mashed potatoes, boats of thick gravy, and tureens of vegetables rich with butter and cream sauces. Great mounds of roasted ears of corn, freshly picked came streaming from a kettle. Then came the huge platters of meat or fried chicken. After the main meal, several kinds of pie were brought in right from the oven.”
Now days, sumptuous food is served from various concession stands scattered throughout the Threshing Grounds. The main stand opens at 7:00 am for breakfast every morning. The stands are operated by the Almelund All-Volunteer Fire Department.