Sprucing up at Heritage Acres

FAIRMONT – As the first coat of John Deere green goes on what was just a rusted-out pile of metal, the forgotten piece of equipment seems to come back to life.

“It definitely looks better than the rust pile,” observed Jerry Simon, who along with a few other tractor club members volunteered to take some of the old antique equipment at Heritage Acres and get it into display shape.

“There are many more pieces sitting back there,” said John Hilgendorf of Heritage Acres. “All those pieces that were sitting on both sides of the building … I’m getting too old to do it all myself.”

The pieces sat outside the buildings, and were falling into worse shape until recently, when cement pads were laid along both sides of the equipment building.

“We got the cement pads, so the wheels won’t get into the gravel and rust away,” Hilgendorf said. “Eventually, we will have that and have displays along both sides of the buildings.”

Volunteers spent the day Wednesday sanding down some of the layers of rust on the old equipment, and giving them fresh paint.

“These wheels need more sanding toward the bottom,” Simon observed as he attempted to spray-paint the wheel of one of the corn planters. “The paint isn’t sticking there.”

The volunteers hope to have a portion of the equipment finished and ready for display by Aug. 11, when Heritage Acres will hold its annual Threshing Bee.

“It’s been going on for 30-plus years,” said Hilgendorf. “Everything will be open for tours, there will be a lunch stand, and the threshing starts at 1 p.m.”

This year, Heritage Acres will also have a display at the Martin County Fair, and the local historical group is also preparing for its annual Fall Festival to be held Oct. 20.

For more information, contact Simon at (507) 238-4645.