Two of my favorite summertime events happen to be crowded
into one weekend, but if you plan the next three days carefully
you can see it all.
Running for 62 years, the Sycamore Steam Power Show and
Threshing Bee offers visitors lessons in agricultural history
that cannot be found anywhere else.
Talking with steam power club President Milan Duchaj (pronounced
Doo-High) this week, he pointed out some of the highlights during
the four-day run from Thursday through Sunday. They will have
two saw mills operating this year to demonstrate how trees are
turned into lumber, the Sycamore Fire Departments restored
1928 engine will be on display and the steam-powered shovel owned
by the Fruit family from Kirkland will be operating. In addition
Massive steam engines like this one from a past parade
will be on display at the Sycamore Steam Power Show through Sunday.
The daily parade begins at 1:30 p.m. (file photo)
about 15 or 20 steam-powered engines, there will be more than
100 tractors of all vintages on display.
My favorites are the Noon Toot, when the steam
whistles all blast at the same time, followed by the parade of
old vehicles at 1:30 p.m. Of course, the day would not be complete
without downing a brat, some corn on the cob, shiskebob or a
pork chop from Fays BBQ. I also find the two metal buildings
the Founders Building and the Malsch Family Building
packed with interesting exhibits, flea market items and historical
displays. The daily baked goods sale is a sellout.
There is so much more, such as the FFA petting zoo, where
your family can take selfies with live farm animals and find
lots of stuff for sale. So dont just say Ive
been there, done that anymore than you would say the same
about a baseball game. If youve seen one White Sox home
run, why come back to see more men run around the bases? ...
Now lets get on to the DeKalb County Barn Tour on
Saturday, which has moved to the south edge of our county into
the Rollo, Paw Paw, Leland and Earlville areas, where there are
some unique barns, corn cribs and other outbuildings not found
anywhere else nearby.
Cliff Golden, one of the volunteers who took a preview
tour last weekend, said he was told this is the finest collection
of barns ever featured on the tour, which is in its fifth year
as a fundraiser for the DeKalb Area Agricultural Heritage Association
and the J.F. Glidden Homestead. This event attracts visitors
from throughout the Chicago area as they normally would never
have the opportunity to get inside these working barns or see
farm animals up close where they can even get a whiff of them.
Golden told me about octagonal barns and an eight-sided
corn crib. There even is an ice house that would mystify the
younger visitors who dont know what an ice box looks like
or that the ice man dropped off blocks to people before electricity
or the invention of refrigerators. Lots of antique equipment
and demonstrations at all eight farms could fill an entire weekend,
but you only have from 9 a.m. to 4 p.m. to race from farm to
farm, using a provided map. Cram as many people as you can into
your SUV or camper because they charge by the carload
The Daily Chronicle and MidWeek had articles this week
with details on all this, or visit threshingbee.org and dekalbcountybarntour.com.