Pioneer Acres is Alberta’s largest agricultural museum. Ten thousand people are expected to attend its biggest event of the year, the Fall Show, August 5-7, 2011. Now in its forty-second year, the event attracts young families, farmers, truck lovers and ‘gear heads’ to the museum located near the village of Irricana, 45 minutes west of Calgary.
Here’s a video of the fall show at Pioneer Acres.
On the day we visited Pioneer Acres we watched a huge tractor rumble out of a shed. Built in 1917 by the Minneapolis Threshing Machine Company. it was once owned by the Hedstrom brothers, early Alberta pioneers who farmed in nearby Carbon. Driving the massive machine was Justin Campbell, a young museum volunteer. Justin told us he’s a “gear head” who first fell in love with Pioneer Acres when he was a toddler. Volunteers like Justin are what set this agricultural museum apart from most. Thanks to them, many of the machines in Pioneer Acres’ giant collection are in working order, including Alberta’s oldest tractor, a 1908 “Old Reliable” built by Hart Parr from Iowa. “These machines didn’t move fast but they were strong and they were built with their mechanisms exposed so we can see how they work”, says Justin. He calls Pioneer Acres a “history in motion” and says the museum’s machines are “wonderful educational tools”.
Daily demonstrations at the Fall Show include a Feature Parade, a Parade of Power, and an Antique Car & Truck Parade. The latter features rare trucks from the museum’s Ray Howden collection, one of the finest in Canada. The Fall Event is also where you can learn how to churn butter the old-fashioned way and play pioneer games. Horses are a major draw. Every morning, teams of up to eight are led into an adjacent field of Rye to demonstrate early plowing techniques. In the afternoons, steam-driven ploughs and threshers do the same. Pancake breakfasts and steak suppers are served. Camping and accommodation are close by.
If you can’t make the Fall Show, Pioneer Acres is open from mid-May to the end of September, 7 days a week. In 2011, “Feature Weekends” held every month highlight one or more areas of the museum and bring them to life. Visit Pioneer Acres Plowmen and Threshermen’s Club of Alberta