It Takes a Historical Society: Liberty Grove Historical Society hosts tractor, arts festival July 24-25

The Liberty Grove Historical Society (LGHS) isn’t resting on its laurels. Although it netted $3,725 from its 20th annual fish boil on June 25, an even bigger event – the Antique Tractor and Arts Festival and Raffle – is planned for July 24-25, 10 am – 4 pm, on the society’s museum grounds on the Ellison Bay hill. All money raised during the two-day event will support restoring and improving the site.

The historical society maintains a large barn and 12 other buildings on the property and preserves the donated historical items displayed within them. Volunteers work hard to restore objects such as Gust Klenke’s cook stove and to discover the provenance of items such as the “mystery organ.” (It was finally determined to have come from the home of Marie Schmidt and Herman Staver, who were married in 1882 and lived on County Q.)

The LGHS not only preserves history, but on occasion, it also discovers it. A call from Jeni Nelson Tveten, general manager of Bea’s Ho-Made Products, about artifacts found in the woods off Juice Mill Lane, sent four society members on a search that revealed the history of an “oil works” on the property during the 1880s.

Participation in LGHS events supports activities that benefit the

Liberty Grove community. The upcoming Antique Tractor and Arts Festival and Raffle is open to the public at no charge. Cherry brats, hot dogs, potato blossoms (spiral-cut, deep-fried potatoes), ice cream from Door County Ice Cream Factory, soft drinks and beer will be available for purchase.

This was the scene during the tractor show at the Liberty Grove Historical Society’s 2019 fundraising event. This year, festivalgoers will vote on their favorites from among the 60-70 expected entries. Submitted.

Also enjoy free pony rides Saturday, July 24, 10 am – 3 pm; plus free hayrides Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm; and Sunday, July 25, 11 am – 2 pm. Jerry Voelker and the Jolly Gents will play live polka music Saturday, 11 am – 3 pm; and Lynn Gudmundsen, David Hatch, Johnny Holton and Bruce Newbern will entertain with easy rock Sunday, 11 am – 3 pm. A dozen or more artisans will also exhibit their handcrafted work for sale.

Dave Westen, who’s in charge of the antique-tractor competition, said the event usually draws 60-70 entries, but there will be no “featured” tractor make this year. The tractors will start arriving two days prior to the event, and it’s been likened to a circus arriving as they chug up and down the hill toward the museum grounds. 

As usual, attendees will vote on their favorite tractors to decide the winners of the three trophies. The tractor trophy award ceremony will take place Sunday, 2:30 pm.

The third highlight of the weekend event is the raffle, with more than 50 prizes ranging in value from $25 to $350. They include several resort and campground stays, gift certificates from a variety of restaurants and farm markets, and many items from artists and local businesses.

Raffle tickets are $5 each or five for $20. Ticket sales will continue until the drawing on Sunday, July 25, at 2 pm. Tickets are available at all LGHS events, at local businesses and from Karen Moran at 520.730.0436. Winners need not be present at the drawing.

Beyond this major event, the LGHS is updating and reformatting A Century in God’s Country, a book that Lon Kopitzke edited for Ellison Bay’s centennial in 1966. The society also presents programs about local history June – September; vintage markets and music are scheduled on the museum grounds Aug. 7 and Sept. 11; and Fall Color Day will be celebrated Oct. 9. The museum will be open on all these occasions, as well as every Saturday through Oct. 9, 10 am – 2 pm.

A project that’s been in the works for three years will take place Aug. 29: dedicating the Heritage Walkway, which honors past fire chiefs and EMS founders from Liberty Grove and Sister Bay. Blank bricks are available for community members to honor public-safety providers. The Circle of Honor memorializes the military service of Liberty Grove people, past and present.

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