Friday, August 11, 2017

Heritage Acres hosts amazing 30th anniversary bash

T. Lucas/C. Davis - This year marks the 30th Anniversary of Heritage Acres Farm Museum, a continually developing 180 acre attraction located north of the Town of Pincher Creek. The Heritage Acres Annual Show was held on the Heritage Long Weekend August 4 - 6. It was filled with fun, laughter, music, and it even made some history of it's own. Attendance was way up this year. "We started to run out of parking, both for the RVs and vehicles," said Heritage Acres Executive Director Mark Barber. "I think this weekend broke a number of our records." Saturday's crowd alone was estimated to be over 1500 people.

One of the key events of the weekend was the dedication of the Zoeteman/Vogelaar dairy barn on Saturday morning.  The barn has undergone an extensive (and still ongoing) renovation since it was moved to the site in February of 2014. There were threshing and field demonstrations, children’s events including ice cream and rope making and mini pedal-powered tractors, stationary engine displays, pancake breakfast, sawmill demonstrations, a barn hunt dog demonstration, the annual Parade of Power, tractor pulls, numerous other activities, markets, food, and live music throughout the event. Sunday's schedule included a non-denominational church service and gospel choir. The event also celebrated International Harvester farm equipment, which was featured prominently during the Parade of Power. Western Canada International Harvester Chapter 38 President Darald Marin assisted local rancher Bob Westrop in announcing that event.

Heritage Acres President Ken Lewis in the Parade of Power

The grand opening of the Zoeteman/Vogelaar dairy barn was hosted by Heritage Acres President Ken Lewis. Guest speakers included Foothills MP John Barlow, past Reeve Hilton Pharis, current Reeve Brian Hammond, Mayor Don Anderberg, and HA Barn Chair Rob Mitchell. Three members from the original board of directors were in attendance - Ernie Shatz, George Mowatt, and Allan Reed. Hilton Pharis was one of the MD of Pincher Creek's Reeves during the time of negotiations with the Alberta Government for the establishment of the Heritage Acres site. "I am amazed at what has happened. I want to congratulate all those who have worked so hard on it over through the years," said Pharis. Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg said the decision to bring the barn to Heritage Acres was an important one.

Foothills MP John Barlow cuts the ribbon, officially opening the Big Red Barn to the public
Pincher Creek MD #9 Reeve Brian Hammond spoke of the dedication of the founding board, and all the people involved in running the site today.  He said of all the volunteers "They believe in the value of what Heritage Acres is all about."  Grain elevators, red family barns, one room school houses, small community halls all dotted the rural landscape across the country, and have been replaced by more modern facilities.  Having these buildings and artifacts preserved means that heritage is not lost to the future.  "For me, Heritage Acres is a reminder of the tremendous effort that our forebears, persevering in the face of challenges presented by Mother Nature, withstanding the vagaries of the market cycles and agricultural  products, but perhaps most important, for having the patience, the tolerance, the stick-to-it-ness to endure brutally long hours operating underpowered and under engineered farm tractors and equipment to get the crop in... To them, we owe a debt of gratitude and respect for their part in providing the circumstances and advantages we all enjoy today."

Barn Chair Rob Mitchell said "It is time to show it off, and once again thank all of the supporters." He said it has been five years since the plan to move the barn to the Heritage Acres site from just west of the Town of Pincher Creek was conceived, and added it is not finished as a project. He spoke of the history of the barn, which was originally built by Boss Zoeteman and was later owned by the Vogelaar family, *who offer the building to Heritage Acres for the sum of one dollar.  Later the family sold the land, but the new owner of the land, Lloyd Sproule honored the previous agreement.  The endeavour to move the building was costly. "Thanks to the hard work of a small dedicated fundraising committee, $208,000 was raised," said Mitchell. "That was just enough to form and pour the foundation, move the barn, and put a new roof cover on."

"This barn is going to be known as the Zoeteman/Vogelaar dairy barn."

Show Chair Sandra Reed

Show Chair Sandra Reed was pleased with the turnout.  "This is our 30th Annual Show. The (Heritage Acres) site came into being because the dam was being built, and quite a few of these buildings were going to be flooded.  They formed a society here to preserve the heritage of the area."  Since that time other buildings have been donated.  "We are excited about the attendance, and we have been so blessed with the weather this year."  The skies were a little bit smoky due to fires in British Columbia, and overcast in general, but the temperature was a little cooler than normal and the rain that sometimes threatened never came.

George Mowat in the Parade of Power

Reed said the show and the site have been growing at least in part due to the interest from people both near and far. Most of the volunteer base is local. "There is a lot of camaraderie going on here. We have skilled carpenters, skilled mechanics, and dedicated handymen. If you are interested in old things, this is the place to come and share with other people your skills, and they will share theirs, and everyone has just a wonderful time." She was thrilled with the various musical entertainers performing on site. There was live performances from 18 different groups or soloists at various times and locations throughout the event. The lineup included: Tim Robertson and Bud Stewart, Rocky Mountain Fiddlers, Kevin Fitzpatrick, Cooley Family, Groves Family, Adam Schoening, Will Schoening, Meg Mawhinney, Doug Rawling, The Carraganas, Mac Hicken, Jim Peace, Noel Burles and Vicki, Michael Cousineau, The Rink Ranch Gang, the Voice's own Chris Davis,  and Alexander Morgan. "Such a wide variety, but they all suit being here," said Reed.  Speaking as one of those musicians (Chris Davis), the Zoeteman/Vogelaar dairy barn is a magical space to perform in, both visually and acoustically.

Pancake breakfast crew on Saturday: Volunteer Bob Schmidt, Volunteer Roy Reed, Town Councillor Wayne Elliott, Town Mayor Don Anderberg, Volunteer Jake Vogelaar, MD Reeve Brian Hammond, MD Councillor Terry Yagos, MD Councillor Fred Schoening, MD Councillor Garry Marchuk

Upcoming events/tourism information:

Heritage Acres is open to the public daily until September 16, 2017. Hours of Operation are 9:00 am to 5:00 pm (Sunday 12:00 to 5:00). Very affordable RV camping is available.

The annual Fall Fair will be held September 16, 2017.

Candlelight Christmas Church Service will be held December 1, 2017.

Breakfast with Santa for children will be held December 2, 2017.

More information:

Fun with pancakes (Wayne Elliott photos)
David Glass and Tim Robertson

Rocky Mountain Fiddlers

Inside the Zoeteman/Vogelaar barn

Future engineer Andrea Smyth inside the train station

Dick Hardy in the Parade of Power

Inside the train station

Western Canada International Harvester Chapter 38 President Darald Marin

HA President Ken Lewis and MP John Barlow

HA President Ken Lewis and Barn Chair Rob Mitchell

Town of Pincher Creek Mayor Don Anderberg and MD of Pincher Creek Reeve Brian Hammond

Former MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 Reeve Hilton Pharis

MD of Pincher Creek No. 9 Reeve Brian Hammond in the Parade of Power

Koothenai Brown Pioneer Village Curator Farley Wuth

Heritage Acres Executive Director Mark Barber greeting attendees at the gate

MC Bob Westrop

MP John Barlow and Mayor Don Anderberg

*Corrected for accuracy.

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