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History of the Wilson County Old Iron Club & Old Iron Days Show
The Wilson County Old Iron Club had its beginnings as a rather small tractor show at the annual Homecoming Celebration in Fredonia, KS, which is held each year on the first weekend in October. The club formally organized in 1999 with 25 charter members. By 2018, they have over 150 members.
The club members very quickly focused on ways to educate children in the former ways of farming and farm life. In an effort to do that, we have developed a rather large group of demonstrations featuring wheat threshing, rock crushing, wood cook stove methods, old laundry methods, broom making, open-fire cooking, many types of wood saws along with a sawmill, corn processing methods, and much, much more.
Area school children are invited to attend the Old Iron Days Show, held the last Thursday through Sunday each September, and learn about the ways of the past. They began in 1999 with attendance from Fredonia, Altoona, and Neodesha schools, and in 10 years time have grown to hosting over 2,000 school children. With great community support and involvement, they continue to add exhibits each year and look for ways to find something of interest for every member of the family.
After having the show at several locations in town, they now have a permanent home at The Rollin ‘Red’ Vandever Memorial Park, located just east of Fredonia, close to the intersection of US-400 and KS-47. The property was donated in 2007 by Randy and Chris Vandever Alexander, in memory and honor of Chris’ father, a local farmer.
The show grounds have been developed to include two Main Street buildings (built with generous donations from the First National Bank in Fredonia) , a Sawmill building, Shingle saw structure, Small engine display building, Feed and seed cleaning building, storage for the threshing machine and bundle wagons, and many other structures that allow for nearly all exhibits to be sheltered from the elements. In 2014, the Old Iron Club received a generous donation from the Colfax Baptist Church. Upon its closing, they were able to use some structural elements from their building along with a sizable cash donation, to build a country church.
The club has established year-round programming, with Old Iron Days held the last Thursday through Sunday in September, a “Kansas Heritage Series” of three educational events in late winter, and a planned “Harvest Time” event in June. Our facilities are also host to many other educational opportunities held in partnership with area groups. They are continuing to seek out ways to partner with local organizations for mutual benefit, for the purpose of strengthening our community.
The public is invited to attend their show the last Thursday - Sunday in September each year.
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