MIDALE - The Souris Valley Antique Association held its annual celebration of farming history during the Saskatchewan Day long weekend, and people turned out in droves for the event.
The Pioneer Echoes activities were held Saturday and Sunday at the heritage village in Midale. Committee vice-president Ryan Swenson estimated they had the highest attendance in a number of years, with approximately 600-700 people present.
"There was a lot going on this year, between the rodeo [bull bash] and the street dance. The street dance brought in a pile of people this year," said Swenson. "I think it benefitted all of the organizations in town."
It was great to see so many people in the community during the long weekend, he said. A lot of people at the Pioneer Echoes hadn't been there before or they hadn't attended in a lot of years.
"It seems every year there's different people that come up to us and they say 'We had no idea that this is going on here, and this is the first we've ever heard of this,'" said Swenson. "Mind you, we've been doing this for close to 60 years now, but there's always new people, which is good."
He thought it also helped that the temperatures were warm and the weather was beautiful that weekend.
A number of activities were held both days. The buildings within the village were open, so people could watch the blacksmithing demonstration, enjoy the fried bread that was prepared in one of the buildings or look for bargains at the flea market.
Each afternoon, dozens of antique tractors and other pieces of old-time farm equipment rolled through the pioneer village.
"The parades went really well," said Swenson. "We had a bunch of tractors brought in from out of town. A couple from Estevan, a couple from Weyburn. A lot of local ones, too."
They do their best to ensure everything is operational in time for the weekend, but there were a few mechanical issues that arose during the parade.
Threshing demonstrations happened following the parade each day, allowing people to witness the old-fashioned technique.
"We had a few minor issues with our threshing machine, but after working the kinks out, everything seemed to work pretty well," said Swenson.
Live music was played each day, and a church service happened Sunday.
The committee will start planning for 2024 in the next few weeks, and will then really begin to prepare in late May or early June. A committee of about 15 people helps make the Pioneer Echoes weekend happen each year.
If anybody wants to get involved with the organization, Swenson said the association is always looking for new members.