Launch of the 69th Jubilee of Farmers and Drummers


New Centerville’s 69th Farmers and Threshers Jubilee celebrates harvest and history from Wednesday through Sunday with a different program of events each day.

While last year’s festival was halted due to the pandemic, this year’s jubilee brings back the same traditional events for the community.

According to Clark Brocht, who served as advertising spokesperson for the jubilee for decades, to keep moving forward, it’s important to remember that the 68th jubilee never happened, even though a tractor pull did take place. because “in good times we should remember the bad because history tends to repeat itself and it keeps us humble to reflect. “

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Threshers were once the primary focus of every rural community at this time of year during harvest. Their jobs were intensive because not only did they run steam engines, but they also did a lot of hand labor to fill the barns before winter. Their traditions and way of farming have now faded into the modern landscape, but the jubilee celebrates their heritage.

“The festival itself began in 1953 with the aim of celebrating the history of our ancestors,” said Brocht, “and we have tried to keep that goal in mind every year. Sometimes people will ask what is new to the jubilee this year, but our whole festival is all about keeping things traditional and authentic year after year. “

Threshing demonstrations are all a part of New Centerville Jubilee history, as pictured here in 2019.

Brocht said the jubilee is unlike anything else in the region, as it brings the history of the Industrial Revolution into modern times into a family setting for everyone to enjoy.

“This is one of the few festivals in America to show old steam engines, which were the precursor to the tractor today,” he said. “This is when the steam entered America and the farmer was able to start producing more produce to feed the nation. Before that, there were only a limited number of crops for feed so many people But the steam engine has changed the way people work and we now have a nation that thrives in food production.

During World War II, many old steam engines were dismantled, melted down and used for war purposes. Brocht therefore thinks the jubilee is blessed to have so many steam engines in service each year.

Brocht added that the festival is run entirely on a volunteer basis – without all the hard work donated, it would never be a success year after year.

“With the many volunteers and support from the community, from church groups and 4-H clubs to sponsors and the firefighters themselves, everyone comes together to help,” he said. “Some families have volunteered their time at the festival for generations.”

Several families, such as the Walkers, Queers, Millers and many more, come to the festival as part of their family legacy.

“We take pride in the jubilee with a family setting where everyone can relax and visit each other,” said Brocht. “This has been our story throughout the jubilee. Our founder Charlie Cramer has always focused on family entertainment so that the younger generation is exposed to the story and have a memory of it all.”

The history of the New Centerville and Rural Volunteer Fire Co. dates back to 1941, when a house fire at the Lloyd Berkey residence forced several neighbors and a needy call to the nearby Rockwood fire company to finally turn it off. Some of those same community leaders from the newly developed fire department also decided more than a decade later, in 1953, that it was time to celebrate rural life in a field owned by ER Mosholder with a local festival.

It grew from there with the fire department buying two plots of land from Jesse and Mary Geary and Jeremiah and Minnie Pletcher in the borough of New Centerville. The museum hall was erected here in 1958, and the jubilee was in progress.

Now this festival is a local legend. The demonstration of the power of steam alone is rare, and the threshing demonstration attracts people from several different states each year.

The New Centerville and Rural Volunteer Fire Co. has become famous for its jubilee, which attracts people from all over the Northeastern United States. and accommodation for the Pennsylvania Game Commission Bear Control Station.

For 69 years (with the first festival in 1953), this jubilee featured the first machines of agricultural life, from heavy steam engines and the first gasoline tractors to horse machines and even dogs. During the jubilee there are many demonstrations, parades and competitions featuring these amazing antiques.

This country festival puts old machines in the spotlight. Every day of the festival, there is a parade of ancient equipment, corn threshing, husking and shredding, and other demonstrations at 1 p.m.

The Jubilee also offers a variety of other activities for the whole family, including competitions such as arm wrestling and photography, the Outhouse Dash, and tractor and horse pulling competitions. A show and sale of quilts, an apple pie contest, live music, a children’s day, craft sales and homemade food are also part of the event.

Entertainment for the week will include Danny Conner and Rob Stemple, Marshele Bradford Exchange, Echo Valley (seven siblings), Lonesome Lost and Foggy, Scott Hall Rock and Country, The Boomers, Black Diamond, Keystone State Quartet, Country Express and the Hickory Lower Band.

Registration for apple pies for Grandma Hazel’s Apple Pie Contest is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Wednesday, when the winning apple pies will be sold at 8:15 p.m. the same day in the museum hall.

In addition to the Antique Equipment Parade at 1 p.m. each day, Wednesday’s schedule features three major evening events with the Grand Jubilee Parade at 6:15 p.m., the Outhouse Dash at 8:15 p.m. and the Coronation of the Jubilee King. and queen at 8:30 p.m.

The quilt show will be held on Wednesdays from 10 a.m. to 6:15 p.m., from 10 a.m. to 7:30 p.m. Thursday, Friday and Saturday, and from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Sunday, upstairs in the banquet hall.

There will be cement block making demonstrations Wednesday through Sunday at several different times.

On Thursday, steam engine games will take place at 3.15 p.m., followed by the pulling of the garden tractor at 6.30 p.m.

The Friday schedule includes the steam engine plowing at 3 p.m. and the steam engine pulling at 5 p.m. The traction of the original tractor is set for Friday evening.

The children’s day activities on Saturday will all take place in the threshing floor and will include a pedal tractor at 9 a.m. A hay bale toss will follow.

Also on Saturdays, the horseshoe throw competition starts at 9 a.m. and the arm wrestling tournament starts at 10:30 a.m.

New this year is the Steam Ahead 5K Walk / Run at 8am Saturday from the track. Those interested are invited to go to Facebook for the jubilee and use the link there.

Saturday is all about pulling power. The three and four wheels should fire at 10 o’clock.

On Sundays, a community religious service is scheduled with ministers from the region at 9 a.m. in the museum hall. The four-wheel-drive pickup truck and semi-trailer pulling contest will take place Sunday at 11 a.m. on the track. In addition, quilts, photos, scarecrows and other items must be released after 3 p.m. Sunday.

Not only are the demonstrations of rural life worth seeing, but the food is a whole different adventure. Breakfast is served daily from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. in front of the fire station. The chicken barbecue is scheduled to start at 11 a.m. on Saturday and Sunday.

Bean soup and cider are also available at the cider house. There will be no homemade meals served this year.

There must be hamburgers, hot dogs, fries, baked potatoes, pies, cakes, apple balls, ice cream, pizzas and many other items permanently available on the track stands and in the museum lobby.

“It comes and goes very quickly every year, but we prepare ourselves months in advance,” said Brocht. “There is nothing but the jubilee. It’s a history lesson, but much more than that – after 69 years it has become our history.

“It’s worth coming to see old friends as it’s been two years since that last reunion.”

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