Fun, food, farm machinery on tap for Old Threshers’ Reunion
DENTON ó The 38th annual Southeast Old Threshers’ Reunion will be held July 1-5 at Denton FarmPark.
The festival dates to 1970 when a July 4th “Fly-In” was staged at the site. Airplane rides were offered, and proceeds went to the establishment of a volunteer rescue squad for the area.
The project was so successful that long waiting lines resulted in people leaving before taking plane rides. The next year, local collectors demonstrated antique farm machines to ease the impatience of visitors.
That same year, the event’s name was changed to “Fly-In and Threshers’ Reunion.”
“We didn’t know what we were getting into,” admitted Brown Loflin, who, along with Howard Latham, started the event.
“We found out there were a lot of antique machinery collectors looking for a place to gather, and a lot of people who were interested in looking at it, and we sure did get caught up in it.”Today, the festival is described as “the greatest steam, gas and antique farm equipment show in the Southeastern United States.” It includes vendors from throughout the country.
This year’s exhibition will include a steam shovel operated by Willard Moore.
It is a 1916 Type B Erie Shovel. Moore first saw it in 1976 at Harrisonburg, Va. It was derelict, serving only as a sign at a stone quarry which had discontinued use years ago.
Moore went to Brown Loflin and Howard Latham, who own much of the park’s restored antique machinery, and urged them to buy it. Moore promised to restore it.
He operated a construction business for many years and later retired as a maintenance supervisor for a manufacturing plant in the Triad. He has collected and restored many antique machines.
The steam shovel weighs 41,000 pounds. Its dipper holds a cubic yard. It is capable of moving 50-60 cubic yards an hour. Its boom is 17 feet long and works at a height of 18 feet.
The steam shovel has a tank that holds 275 gallons of water.
Steam from the boiler operates double reversing engines for hoisting, swinging and digging. The hosting engine’s piston is 5 inches in diameter.
It is a self-propelled machine. Steel traction wheels in the rear are 34 inches in diameter and 16 inches wide.
Admission to the reunion is $13 for adults, $6 for children and free for preschoolers.
From Salisbury, to get to the park, take Bringle Ferry Road east and turn right onto Lick Creek Church Road. Pass U.S. 8 and turn right onto Handy Road. Cross N.C. 109 and turn left onto Cranford Road.
The park totals more than 100 acres and includes a camping area.