55th annual Western Illinois Threshers Bee and Antique Show to begin Friday in Hamilton

Bolton Barn

Work continues on the 1850s circa Bolton Barn being rebuilt on the grounds. The barn from rural Nauvoo was disassembled by Bolton family descendants and other volunteers. | Photo courtesy of Western Illinois Threshers

HAMILTON, Ill. — The 55th annual Western Illinois Threshers Bee and Antique Show will begin Friday, Aug. 5 near Hamilton and continue with three days of demonstrations and activities through Aug. 7.

This year’s show highlights Allis Chalmers tractors, with this year’s button featuring an WD45 Allis Chalmers tractor owned by Ron Briscoe. The raffle tractor is a 1942 Allis Chalmers B.

Parades of antique cars, trucks, tractors and steam engines brought by exhibitors will run through the grandstand at 3 p.m. Saturday and Sunday afternoons. Dinner is offered at 6 p.m. for $10 each day. Friday night’s meal is a ribeye steak, potato salad and baked beans. Saturday’s meal features smoked pork chops, au gratin potatoes and fresh tomatoes.

Entertainment Friday night is an antique tractor pull in the grandstand, followed with music by Bocephus Wayne at approximately 8 p.m. Hear music by On Stage Band during and after the pork chop supper on Saturday night.

Following is the schedule of events for each day:


  • tractor games-9 a.m.
  • antique tractor pull-11 a.m.
  • kids’ pedal tractor pull-3 p.m.
  • dinner-6 p.m.
  • antique tractor pull-6 p.m. in the grandstand
  • entertainment by Bocephus Wayne-8 p.m.


  • pancake breakfast-7-10 a.m.
  • pony pulling-8 a.m. in the grandstand
  • antique tractor pull-10 a.m.
  • tractor games-noon in the grandstand
  • horse plowing-1 p.m. in the field
  • antique tractor and car parade-3 p.m.
  • dinner-6 p.m.
  • entertainment by On Stage Band-6 p.m.
  • quilt auction-8 p.m. Saturday followed with more music.


  • pancake breakfast-7 a.m.
  • worship in the country church-8:30 a.m.
  • antique tractor pull-9:30 a.m.
  • horse plowing-1 p.m.
  • Sportsyex will offer fun and games for kids-1:30 p.m. at the grandstand
  • antique tractor and car parade-3 p.m.

Winners of the antique tractor, quilt, pedal tractor and other prizes will be announced after Sunday’s parade.

Demonstrations and exhibits are planned daily. Steam engines are used to power threshing machines and the large and small sawmills. A large collection of rail handcars will be exhibited, and rail motor car rides are available on the track around the grounds. Bingo be held throughout the weekend in the large shelter house. See sheep shearing, rock crushing, corn shelling and corn meal grinding, pony-powered threshing, small gas engines, quilting and rug weaving. A flea market sets up on the north end of the grounds during the show. Activities for children include a petting zoo, hands-on corn shelling, a playground at the school yard, the pedal pull on Friday afternoon and games at the grandstand on Sunday.

The growing village on the 80-acre grounds has log cabins, a church, one-room school, depots, print shop, blacksmith and a post office. There is an antique gas station, two large museum buildings, and two renovated TP&W depots.

Many of the buildings have histories of their own, being moved onto the grounds from the region. Work continues on the 1850s circa Bolton Barn being rebuilt on the grounds. The barn from rural Nauvoo was disassembled by Bolton family descendants and other volunteers. The foundation has been poured, and walls and rafters are framed as work continues on reassembling the barn this year.

Camping hook-ups of 20 and 30 amps are available. Golf carts/ATVs are not rented on the grounds but are allowed. Owners must register their vehicles and pay a $20 fee at the headquarters building upon arrival at the show.

A $5 commemorative button allows admission for all three days to those 12 years and older. Children under 12 are admitted free.

To find the Western Illinois Threshers Show, turn north at the signs in Hamilton at North 19th and continue on the blacktop two miles north. Parking is free.

For more information, call president Ed Hartweg, 319-795-2982, or go to www.westernillinoisthreshers.org. The phone at the grounds is 217-847-2572.

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