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Farm Heritage Festival near Polo draws a large crowd

Jane Madej, Polo, got better acquainted Aug. 24 with a dairy cow whose products she's already familiar with.

"We know these cows. We drink their milk — it's delicious," she said with a grin as she petted a Holstein cow belonging to Renee Sheaffer-Koster, Dixon, at the seventh annual Farm Heritage Festival at East Jordan United Methodist Church southwest of Polo.

Madej said she and husband regularly purchase milk from Sheaffer-Koster and appreciate its freshness and high quality.

Madej was attending the festival for the second time.

"Everything here reminds me of how much work is involved," she said. "Not everything is easy."

The festival offers visitors a taste of yesterday's farming techniques and equipment, farm animals, and good old-fashioned cooking.

Inside the church, a hearty breakfast and then lunch were served.

Norman Eakle, Sterling, was there to show off the 1942 Silver King tractor he bought at an auction four years ago.

"They're pretty rare," he said. "There's not many of them around anymore."

The old tractors were the main attraction for Cody Van Dyke, 12, Milledgeville.

"I like looking at the tractors," he said, as he tried his hand at shelling corn in an old-fashioned sheller operated with a crank.

Festival organizer Steve Venhuizen, Polo, estimated that 450 people attended the festival, possibly the best crowd ever.

"It was probably one of best ones from start to finish," he said. "People came and stayed all day. It went real well."

A plowing demonstration, using both horses and antique tractors, was new this year and met with the approval of the crowd, Venhuizen said.

"An eight-horse hitch on a three-bottom plow was the highlight," he said. "I try to have something different every year."

He said the plowing demonstration was possible this year when the farmer who owns the field next to the church offered the area where he had just harvested a wheat crop.

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