Drive-through Thresher event was a success, says Sloan
BY DENNY SCOTT
For a few hours over the weekend, it was almost like the COVID-19 pandemic wasn’t causing events to be cancelled as the sounds, sights and smells of the annual reunion of the Huron Pioneer Thresher and Hobby Association returned to Blyth.
The association’s volunteers welcomed visitors to the Blyth Campground, which typically would have been the home of the three-day reunion in a non-pandemic year. The event followed the “reverse parades” that other communities and organizations have utilized throughout the pandemic, with visitors staying in their cars and driving from station to station. Association President Judy Sloan said the event was well received.
“Everything went really well,” she said. “We were thrilled with how everything worked.”
While there wasn’t an official count of visitors to the site, she said there was steady traffic for the duration of the event.
Visitors were able to get a truncated experience of the annual reunion, she said, including antique tractors, vintage cars, small lawn tractors, gas engines and demonstrations.
“We had a hand-fed [corn shelling] demonstration, and a hand-fed thresher as well as drag saws and log-sawing.”
She said the association also brought out its “new” threshing machine alongside some antique vehicles.
While the sights were certainly indicative of what people would take in at the reunion, Sloan said what made it really feel like the reunion were the sounds and the smells across the grounds.
“The music brought in a lot of people,” she said, referring to a concert that was held at the end of the parade.
“There were 30 cars sitting there at some points, maybe more,” she said. “A lot of people just wanted to stay and listen.”
Between that and the smell of the steam engines and the blacksmith shop, she said it was like the reunion was going ahead.
The weekend’s weather was fantastic, Sloan said, and, between the weather and the hard work of the volunteers, the drive-through experience was appreciated, she said.
“The Threshers were doing what they do,” she said. “The committee chairs and volunteers all pitched in and we had an event that was well-attended and enjoyed.”
While there were donations taken at the event, Sloan said the association hasn’t yet tabulated how much has been raised, saying only that the community had been very generous.
The event also brought 70 campers to the campground over the week, and while they were there to take part, they also found some time to enjoy some impromptu (and physically-distanced) jam sessions around the campground, Sloan said.