The sights, smells and steam power returned to Rollag, Minnesota for the 67th annual Western Minnesota Steam Threshers Reunion on Saturday.

Thousands of spectators traveled to the event grounds, located about 10 miles south of Hawley on Sept. 4 to see hundreds of steam powered machines, demonstrations and exhibits. The workers and operators at the event showed how many tasks, like cutting sheets of lumber, were completed using steam power before being replaced by modern engines.

Gary Hamann and his daughter, Elizabeth Gallagher, of Moorhead, have been showcasing corn shelling for nearly 10 years. Corn shelling is how farmers used to separate the kernel from the husk before modern farm machines.

Elizabeth Gallagher, of Moorhead, Minn., operates a corn sheller during the 67th annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Elizabeth Gallagher, of Moorhead, Minn., operates a corn sheller during the 67th annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

"A lot of people appreciate this and that makes it fun," said Hamann. "They appreciate being shown what the 'good old days' were when they weren't so good."

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He also said he first started attending the event in 1966 with his family and is proud that his children became members to continue the tradition.

The corn shelling machine he featured was manufactured into the 1960s, he said.

"So that's not that long ago," said Hamann. "I would hate to think that if this was made in 1963, that it was old."

He added he has a corn sheller from the early-1900s in his workshop at home, which is made out of mostly wood.

Roger Degner, of Arizona, works a piece of metal with a hammer and anvil in the blacksmith shop during the 67th annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Roger Degner, of Arizona, works a piece of metal with a hammer and anvil in the blacksmith shop during the 67th annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

This year also marked the 101st birthday for the 353 steam engine locomotive, which was started its service with the Soo Line Railroad in August of 1920, according to the event program. It has been ferrying passengers around the event grounds since the early-1980s and holds more than 5,000 gallons of water for its large boiler.

One of the exhibits on the grounds was a print shop that showed how newspapers and other print products were operated more than 60 years ago.

Jerome Ekre, a former 8-year linotype operator for the Hawley Herald, said many of the machines in the print shop were the actual machines used in many of the area newspapers, like the Herald and Pelican Rapids Press, more than 60 years ago.

Jerome Ekre fixes a linotype machine in the print shop building during the 67th annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)
Jerome Ekre fixes a linotype machine in the print shop building during the 67th annual Steam Threshers Reunion in Rollag, Minn., on Sept. 4, 2021. (Michael Achterling / Detroit Lakes Tribune)

The event runs through Labor Day and costs $14. A parade of steam engines through the grounds occurs everyday during the event at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m.