GOESSEL — A barn that housed not only animals, but also a young couple and their growing family, will be celebrated as part of Country Threshing Days held Aug. 2-4 at the Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum in Goessel.
The festival will start with a benefit performance for the museum with Knocknasheega, a traditional Irish Celtic band, playing both new and old-world tunes from Irish and Scottish folk music. Dancers from the Corry Academy of Irish Dance will also be featured at the performance, which will begin at 7:30 p.m. Aug. 2 in the Goessel High School Auditorium. Admission is by donation.
The Wheat Heritage Engine and Threshing Company plays a big part in Country Threshing Days and this year will bring together a collection of antique and vintage John Deere tractors to put on demonstrations for attendees.
A parade will begin at 9:30 a.m. Aug. 3, with a route along Main Street in Goessel.
A Low-German, Mennonite meal will be served a la carte from 10:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m Aug. 3 at Goessel Elementary School, 500 E. Main St.
The menu will include German country sausage, zwieback, bierocks, coleslaw, cherry moos, New Year's cookies and verenika with ham gravy.
Food will also be available in the prep school on the museum grounds from 10:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. Barbecue beef sandwiches, bierocks, chips, monster cookies and New Year's cookies will be set up for purchase, along with pop, water and coffee.
Proceeds from both meals will benefit the museum.
One of the highlights of Country Threshing Days will be an open house celebrating the recently repainted historic Schroeder Barn.
Beginning at 2 p.m. Aug. 4, attendees can gather to hear stories about the barn — or tell their own — while being served refreshments.
"We would like any family stories or any barn story — it doesn't necessarily have to be about the Schroeder barn," said Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum director Fern Bartel.
Built in 1902, the barn was a wedding gift from Jacob J. Schroeder to his son, Jacob H. Schroeder, and his new wife, Susie Janzen. Janzen's parents also contributed $200 toward the barn's construction. The Schroeder barn originally stood on land about 5 miles northwest of Goessel.
The barn is topped with a square cupola that provided ventilation to the second-floor hayloft, one of the few cupolas that survived the tornado that hit Goessel in 1906. The interior of the barn has horse stalls, an oats bin and a gangway on the ground floor. Originally built with a dirt floor, the barn later had plank flooring installed using boards sawn from local ash and hackberry timber.
Over the first eight years of their marriage, the young couple made their home in two rooms at one end of the barn.
"It is incredibly small," Bartel said.
Their first four children were delivered by Margaret Schroeder, the wife of Jacob J. Schroeder, who served as a midwife in the Goessel area.
A house was moved onto the Schroeders' land in 1910, and the family moved out, leaving the living quarters in the barn to serve as grain bins.
Used until 1957, the barn now holds buggies, wagons and other farming equipment for the museum's visitors to see. The rooms in which the Schroeders lived have been restored and filled with period-appropriate furniture and housewares. Sections of the original wall can still be seen.
The barn recently received renovations, including a fresh coat of paint and wall repairs that revealed some of its original straw installation was still intact.
Admission for Country Threshing Days is $5 at the gate for ages 12 and up; admission is free for children 11 and under.
The Mennonite Heritage and Agricultural Museum, located at 200 N. Poplar in Goessel, is open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday. Admission is $5 for those 13 and older and $2.50 for ages 7 to 12. For more information, visit www.goesselmuseum.com or call 620-367-8200.