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Legacy hosts concert, Harvest Festival
September 11, 2014 Jerry Purvis   

Read more by Jerry Purvis
The story of agriculture and how it was done will again be on display as the Farm And Ranch Museum, now part of Legacy of the Plains, hosts its 18th annual Harvest Festival.

The event is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 20 and 21 at the museum, west of Gering on Old Oregon Trail.

Museum volunteer Jack Preston said that from the beginning, the event was to tell the story of agriculture in the valley and demonstrate the hard work that went into bringing food to the people.

This year’s featured crop is sugar beets. Volunteers will be demonstrating how beets have been planted, along with thinning, blocking, hoeing and cultivating the crop. They also plan to load a horse-drawn wagon with beets and haul them to the sugar factory in Scottsbluff, depending on the weather.

Horse-drawn and tractor-powered equipment will be used as volunteers explain beet equipment and labor practices.

The day starts on Saturday at 7 a.m. with a Gering Kiwanis pancake breakfast. Activities begin at 9 a.m. and run until 5 p.m. Blacksmithing demonstrations, a cowboy campfire and coffee, hay rack rides, livestock demonstrations and more will be featured.

The Kiwanis corn maze will also be set up. And for the kids, there’s a barrel train, a hay bale fort and a pedal tractor course, where they can haul sugar beets in wagons.

Sunday starts at 7 a.m. with a church service. Activities run from 9 a.m. – 4 p.m. The Green Valley Homesteaders will play the music.

There will be a tractor parade each day at 1 p.m. There’s a field of potatoes for people to dig, sack and take home. And the longhorns are back in pasture at the museum. There will also be concessions available both days.

On Saturday over the noon hour, volunteers plan to announce two major awards that Legacy of the Plains has received. The NEBRASKAland Foundation voted to recognize them as a recipient of the Rising Star Award. And the Union Pacific Foundation has awarded the museum a $20,000 grant to develop a “Trails and Transportation” exhibit, which is one of seven exhibit themes in the permanent indoor exhibits planned at the museum.

That time will also coincide with the ribbon cutting ceremony for the first exhibit of the newly expanded museum. “Voices on the Prairie Wind” features a multimedia introduction to the museum and the numerous exhibits being planned for the near future as expansion continues through early 2016.

The busy Harvest Festival period actually began last week as fourth graders from around the area visited the museum for “Hands on History,” as they learned about the history of agriculture and the equipment used in farming.

This Saturday, on Sept. 13, Legacy of the Plains will sponsor the Country Gold Tour, featuring performances by Leroy Van Dyke, Jimmy Fortune and Rex Allen Jr. The concert starts at 6 p.m. at Five Rocks Amphitheater. Adult tickets are $25 and $30 at the gate. Tickets for children 6 – 12 are $10 and children 5 and under are free.

“The concert is one of our biggest fundraisers,” said Katie Bradshaw, Legacy of the Plains director. “All of the expenses are covered by our sponsors, so every dollar people spend on concert tickets is a direct donation to the museum. And we give them a fantastic concert.”
A guitar donated by Thrasher Music will also be auctioned off and will be signed by the performers.

“A couple from Germany found us on our website and they plan to be here for the concert,” Bradshaw said. “Quite a few out-of-town people show us every year.”

Then on Tuesday, Sept. 16, Legacy of the Plains will host a roundtable discussion with museum volunteers and community members. The history of the sugar industry in Nebraska, including the history of local factories will be the topic for discussion.

The roundtable will begin at 7p.m. in the community room at the museum. Attendees are encouraged to bring personal stories and photographs to share. Refreshments will be available.

Country Gold Tour Concert
Saturday, Sept. 13
Five Rocks Amphitheater in Gering
6 p.m. Tickets on sale now for $25 or $30 at the gate. Call (308) 436-1989 for advance tickets

18th Annual Harvest Festival
Sept. 20-21
Legacy of the Plains Museum
2930 Old Oregon Trail Road, Gering
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