56th Annual Fall Festival Coming to Pioneer Farm

OSKALOOSA — The Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum will celebrate its annual Fall Festival this year on Saturday, Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. The Pioneer Farm is excited to showcase several new exhibits during its annual celebration of pioneer living.

“Our staff and volunteer corps have been hard at work renovating exhibit spaces across the site,” explains Margaret Spiegel, director of Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum. “Eleven spaces have been revamped for visitors to enjoy, including three of our historic building interiors and eight mini exhibits in our museum building.”

Festivities include many crowd favorites, including threshing oats with the Woods Brothers steam engine, harvest and field demonstrations using historic equipment, a working sawmill demonstration, the old-fashioned spelling bees in the Prine School, a Pioneer Picnic in Bradbury Hall and pony rides with Pony-Go-Round in the afternoon. The vintage tractor parade concludes the day at 3:30 p.m.

“The Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum is the home of the Mahaska County Historical Society, which is celebrating its 80th anniversary this year,” Spiegel continues. “We have installed a new temporary exhibit outlining the growth and accomplishments of the Historical Society during its first 80 years and its vision for the future. Visitors will be able to enjoy that in the Craft Barn while they enjoy demonstrations, crafts and food. The popular taffy pulling, homemade bread and butter and kid’s crafts are all nearby the commemorative exhibit.”

Be sure to plan an entire day of family fun, since several local 4-H clubs and volunteers lead crafts and games across the site. Demonstrators will showcase various skills including blacksmithing, rope-making, weaving, farming with hand tools and more throughout the buildings and on the grounds. In addition to the homemade bread and butter and taffy, several vendors with honey, homemade items and books will be on site.

Admission is $10 for adults, $5 for students and kids 5 years and under are free. All Historical Society members also receive free admission. Contact Spiegel at the Nelson Pioneer Farm to purchase a membership prior to this year’s festival. Memberships are $20 for families and $12 for individuals and will be active through December 2023.

Pre-sales for tickets are currently available online. Member and non-member tickets are available at nelsonpioneer.org/tickets/.

“You can purchase a membership at the time of ticket purchase,” assures Spiegel. “Ticket pre-sales allow for more convenient credit card payments for visitors and helps us plan for food and other items. Cash and check are the only options for ticket sales at the gate, but we do have a credit card option during the Pioneer Picnic, so make sure you plan accordingly for your visit.”

The Nelson Pioneer Farm & Museum is maintained by the Mahaska County Historical Society and located at 2211 Nelson Lane, Oskaloosa. For questions, you may contact the director Margaret Spiegel at 641-672-2929 or curator@nelsonpioneer.org.


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