Step into the past at Plagman Barn Show Days Sept. 20, 21 and 22

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A historic log barn thought to pre-date the Civil War era will be a new attraction at this year's Plagman Barn Show Days. The annual event will be held on Sept. 20, 21 and 22. (Press photo by Caroline Rosacker)

By Caroline Rosacker

The 38th annual Northeast Iowa Farm and Antique Association Plagman Barn Show Days  will be held on Sept. 20, 21 and 22. Plagman Barn is located at 28384 Garber Road (C7X) 10 miles west of Guttenberg or two miles east of Garber.

Take a step back in time and enjoy a variety of demonstrations on early farm and home practices and techniques. The fun family event is sure to please all ages. Admission fee covers all three days: adults $6 and children under 12 free. A shuttle service will be available for visitors to tour the grounds for a more enjoyable and convenient experience. 

Daily demonstrations

The dedicated Plagman Barn volunteers will operate steam powered engines, single cylinder engines, and horse-drawn equipment.  Demonstrations on threshing oats, chopping silage, baling straw, rock crushing, and cutting wood from logs and a working grist mill are a few of the highlights at the three-day event. Visitors can experience a blacksmith shop, butter churning, a horse pull, antique tractor pull and numerous other activities. Many old pieces of machinery, household appliances and other memorabilia from the past will be on display. 

Musical entertainment

Music will be provided for your dancing and listening pleasure. Sit back and listen, or step out on the barn's iconic dance floor to the easy listening sounds of Dave Poggenklass, Keepin' It Country and the Sounds of Nashville.

Food stand

The Plagman Barn food stand will serve breakfast each morning from 6:30 to 9:30 a.m., followed by lunch stand favorites from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m. Plagman Barn's famous chicken dinner will be served on Sunday, Sept. 22, from 10 a.m. - 5 p.m.  

Plagman Barn history

Plagman Barn was built as a dance barn in the 1920s by Bill and Emma Plagman. The "balloon frame" barn measures 136 feet long and 30 feet tall from floor to roof peak. The first dance was held in the historic barn on Sept. 11, 1925. Plagman Barn continued to provide a dance floor for area residents for over a decade. The final dance was held by Arnold Plagman, son of Bill and Emma, in October 1939. 

Restoration efforts

In the fall of 1981 area farmers and local historians became interested in restoring the barn to its former glory.  The Northeast Iowa Farm Antique Association took on the task, and has dedicated itself to the historical preservation of the barn and farming practices of the past. Education of area youth is an important component of the antique association's philosophy. Each year students from area schools make a pilgrimage to Plagman Barn to learn about their agricultural history. 

New this year

A historic log barn, whose construction may pre-date the Civil War era, has been set on the Plagman Barn grounds. The notable  outbuilding was relocated from the Dennis Ulbrich farm. 

Volunteers needed

The Northeast Iowa Farm Antique Association is looking for additional volunteer members. Lorna Moser, events planner, commented, "We are in need of volunteers to step forward and help out in any capacity they are able. We always need help in the kitchen, and we are looking for more people to assist with demonstrations. This event would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers." If you would like to volunteer, call (563) 252-2056.

For a complete listing of scheduled events see inside The Press, or visit

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