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England Prairie getting ready for this year's Show Days

Photo by Rachelle Klemme Forrest Webster works by the old railroad depot at the England Prairie Pioneer Days site Wednesday afternoon. The event will be held Aug. 24-26.1 / 2
Dennis Venzke cuts grass with an older model tractor Wednesday afternoon at the England Prairie Pioneer Club. England Prairie Pioneer Days, to be held Aug. 24-26, features educational and entertainment events about farm life in the past.2 / 2

The 33rd anniversary England Prairie Pioneer Days will be held Aug. 24-26 south of Wadena and Verndale near Wadena County Road 1, and local volunteers are working to get the show ready.

England Prairie Board Member Phillip Skolpe said the event opens at noon Friday, and there will be a variety of demonstrations of agricultural life from the pioneer days.

"They used to farm with horses and thresh with the thresh machine," Skolpe said.

Skolpe will be helping with the antique tractor pull, for which contestants may still enter.

"Just show up Saturday morning with your tractor," he said.

Some of the events include saw mill demonstrations, a tractor barrel race, threshing demonstrations, a petting zoo for children, a coin dig, a barrel train for kids, meals and music.

Carl Trager, senior advisor for the Pioneer Club, said many people are involved in the ongoing educational project.

"We have members from all over central Minnesota," he said.

Elaine Schmitz of the Pioneer Club said there are some new features to this year's event, including the old train depot from Philbrook, an unincorporated town in Todd County.

"It has all the bells and whistles," she said.

Another new aspect of the event, Schmitz said, is the BAM bike event passing through England Prairie Pioneer Club as part of their route.

Also, the Christmas house has been redecorated, and Martha Moen of the Pioneer Club said she was dedicating a corner of the building to a charter member who is still active.

Dennis Venzke of the Pioneer Club said his favorite aspect of the event is all the collaborative work people put into it.

"The workers do a little bit of everything out there; whatever needs to be done - all the way from cutting grass to getting machines ready and buildings repaired and ready," Venzke said.

Sentence to Serve also contributes to work on the grounds.

"We serve them a lunch," Schmitz said. "We try to make them feel like we appreciate what they do."