Third annual Viola Threshers Reunion set for Sept. 12-13

Cathy Decker/Staff reporter
A fishing derby at Bloomfield's pond will liven up the third annual Viola Threshers Reunion. The derby starts at 10 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 12.

Anyone coming through Viola these days from the north on Hwy. 67 should know that the village hosts a Threshers Reunion. "It's always the weekend after Mt. Pleasant," said Kim Graham, president of the Viola Threshers Reunion. A big arrow on the side of a building right across from Casey's has a huge mural with a steam engine on it. "That was a birthday gift for Spud Young, he's on our board," said Graham.

This is the third year for the event. The name, Viola Threshers Reunion is a name that Graham owns. "I loan it to the event every year," he said. He is president of the organization that brings in steam power, gas engine and a tractor show.

We're scared of the rain, but the show must go on, says Graham. This will be the third year for the show, which always runs the weekend after Mt. Pleasant, Iowa's Threshers Reunion.

Featured for this year's show is the "Best 60" tractor, owned by Katie Young of East Peoria. It was built by her late husband, Ted.

The reunion runs from 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 12 - 13,  with free admission for the public and exhibitors.

"A lot of tractors from Aledo's Antique Days come over here for Sunday," said Graham.

"My wife and I just bought two big steam tractors that will be on display. Next year we're going to set up a sawmill," he added.

He plans to restore the two steam tractors -- an 1894 Peerless and 1914 JI Case, at his small company, Midwest Locomotive & Boiler, LLC.

"The big Case was hauled for a very nominal rate by Verplaetse Excavating of Viola. Wayne Verplatse drove the semi and worked very hard to load the engine and unload it safely in Viola," said Graham.

Two other Graham enterprises keep both Kim and his wife Dorothy (Hays) Graham busy. "My wife is a veteran kindergarten teacher at the Winola building in Viola. She is very involved in our other business Hays Engineering and Machine Shop and is looking forward to retirement from teaching so she can spend more time on business and The Viola Threshers Reunion," said Kim.

Other Viola residents are also involved with the Viola Threshers Reunion.

"Friends of mine help regularly at the shop. Tom Mulder helps with weld setup, machine work and setting up the shop. Spud Young puts in a lot of hard work all year on the VTR show with me and also has helped me set up my shop and haul home just about anything. Dan Engels, Roger Whittington and his son Tom also have helped me out a lot over the years," says Kim.

Viola Park Committee will be on the grounds selling walking tacos and root beer floats. The Masonic Lodge will be serving food until 3 p.m. both days. Viola United Methodist Church is serving ice cream all day Saturday. The Viola Fire Department is serving butterfly pork chop dinners or BBQ beef sandwiches from 11 a.m. to 3 p.m. both days. Saturday evening United Presbyterian Church's Youth Music Leadership group is hosting ribeye sandwiches and burgers.