News

2019 Old Threshers Reunion sees highest attendance in 10 years

Union photo by Ashley Duong

A steam engine that won Steam Engine of the Year in 1992 makes an appearance at the Mt. Pleasant Harvest Day Parade. The parade kicked off the 2019 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
Union photo by Ashley Duong A steam engine that won Steam Engine of the Year in 1992 makes an appearance at the Mt. Pleasant Harvest Day Parade. The parade kicked off the 2019 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion on Wednesday, Aug. 28.
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MT. PLEASANT — Low humidity and low temperatures were the perfect weather combination for the 2019 Midwest Old Threshers Reunion as attendance reached the highest it has been in a decade.

Terry McWilliams, CEO of Old Threshers, said based on hard ticket sales, the reunion had 36,150 attendees this year, which is up from the approximately 31,000 guests they had in 2018.

“It’s a big jump and it’s exciting,” he said.

McWilliams said one of the reasons for the uptick in numbers had to do with the weather that was much more favorable than the storms and humidity at least years reunion, and the added entertainment.

“One of the vital things that effects our reunion is Mother Nature and she couldn’t have been much more perfect with it being in the 70s and low 80s all five days,” he said. “We had great entertainment on the KILJ stage all four nights and had sold out the reserve seating. Packed, packed, packed crowds for the Home Free and the Scotty McCreery concert and just the fact that a lot of the folks we talk to are new.”

Campgrounds also were busy during the week as they ran out of electricity hookups early. There are more than 1,000 available and all were utilized before the reunion began. There are about 1,500 camping sites between electrical units and others who plug into generators or tent camp.

He said antique dealers and craft vendors were happy with the turn out and food vendors as well, who reportedly ran out of food before the reunion was over. Gathering a crowd this size in a town the size of Mt. Pleasant is no small feat, but one McWilliams said is pretty amazing the town is able to pull off.

“That is just a testament to the people of Mt. Pleasant and Henry County on how inviting everything is once they got folks here,” he said.

People come from all over, he said, because Old Threshers is a rare place where people can celebrate with those they do not often see.

“It’s a reunion on two different levels,” he said, noting it’s a time for family members to come back home and visit and it’s also a time for exhibitors, volunteers and workers who travel to be apart of the event every year, to see one another.

“We always say if you get them here once they will come back and I think for a lot of these folks they see people they only see for two weeks out of the year at the Old Threshers Reunion.”