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A 'steamy' way to spend your Labor Day weekend: Steam threshers reunion opens Friday at Rollag

The big steam train loops around the Rollag grounds, giving free train rides to passengers making their way around the festival.

Every year on the week before Labor Day, the hills of Rollag come alive, as the Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion begins gearing up for another run.

This 64-year tradition draws anywhere between 50 and 60 thousand people per day — including over 2,000 volunteer exhibitors and festival staff — to the tiny community of Rollag, Minn.

For four days at the end of every summer since 1954, local volunteers have gathered on the WMSTR grounds at Rollag to remind us of how we used to live.

Even the prices harken back to the good ol' days: Once you pay your $12 gate fee (kids 14 and under are admitted free of charge so long as they're accompanied by an adult), or $20 for a "season pass" to all four days of the event, there's no reason to get out your wallet again until lunchtime. All of the rides and attractions on the WMSTR grounds are included as part of your admission.

Train rides and parades (held twice a day!), sewing, spinning and knitting demonstrations, blacksmithing and threshing demonstrations, vintage tractors, steam and gas engine displays, steam-powered "spark shows" at night, live music throughout the day and much, much more. It's all part of the fun at WMSTR — pronounced "Whim-stir" by the locals — which opens to the public this Friday, Sept. 1 and continues each day through Monday, Sept. 4.

And when you do get hungry? There's plenty to eat, with a fry-bread stand, homestyle "threshermen's meals," ice cream cones and more available for purchase. There's even a souvenir stand if you want to buy a cap or a shirt to take home as a memento of your visit.

For more information, please visit the website at www.rollag.com, where you'll find a complete schedule of events, a map of the festival grounds, and details about some of Rollag's more popular attractions.

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