History comes alive at Fall-der-All Sept. 24-25

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Cider pressing apples is one activity kids will enjoy at Fall-der-All, held Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25 in Froelich. (NIT file photo)

By Audrey Posten, North Iowa Times Editor

Let history come alive through fun demonstrations, tours and more at the annual Froelich Fall-der-All, Saturday and Sunday, Sept. 24-25.

For over 20 years, Fall-der-All has been a local fall tradition for Froelich, which is known as the birthplace of the first gas-powered tractor to propel itself forward and backward, created by John Froelich in 1892.

In true Froelich fashion, tractors will start off the celebration on Saturday, with sign-up for a tractor ride beginning at 9 a.m. and the ride leaving at 9:30 a.m. It will end at Froelich around 12:30 p.m. 

This is the second year Fall-der-All has included a tractor ride, said Froelich coordinator Denise Schutte, who encourages participants to showcase their tractors at Fall-der-All through Sunday afternoon.

“Park them on the lawn so everyone can see,” she said.

Throughout the day Saturday, and also on Sunday, Fall-der-All attendees can reminisce and enjoy old-time demonstrations, including blacksmithing, rope making, cider pressing apples and cutting wood with a steam engine. A thresher will also be on display along with some hit-and-miss engines. 

“I hope people will bring their entire family to see how things were done years ago,” Schutte said. “It’s great to have multi-generational families. For the older generations, it brings out memories they have that they might not share otherwise.”

Schutte said kids will especially enjoy making ice cream and grinding corn by hand.

“They can take the stone and pound on the corn themselves,” she explained. “Getting to see it helps them learn. It’s a fun way to learn.”

Other kid’s activities will include barrel rides, offered throughout the weekend, as well as a pedal tractor pull Sunday, at 1 p.m. Kids will even be able to pedal around an obstacle course, Schutte noted.

Also on Sunday, start the day off right with breakfast in the barn, featuring a hearty meal of pancakes with pure maple syrup, scrambled eggs, sausage, homemade applesauce and a beverage. Breakfast will be served from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.

The raffle drawing will end the day, at 3 p.m.

While visiting Fall-der-All, Schutte welcomes attendees to check out the Froelich Museum 1890s historical village, comprised of Burlingame’s General Store, Froelich tractor replicas, the Cowell semi building, a warehouse, blacksmith shop, one-room school house, train depot and vintage barn.

2016 marks the 30th anniversary of the Froelich Foundation, which was created in Sept. 1986, with Roger Swanson, Keith and Marlyce Kling and Gene and Jo Ann Kramer as the founding members. Thanks to the foundation and the community, the historic village is still intact.

Back then, Schutte said, the county owned the property, but couldn’t afford to maintain it.

“It was going to be bulldozed,” she said, “but the community got wind and saved it.”

It helped, said Schutte, that the site includes a monument dedicated to John Froelich and his invention.

“[The tractor] is what makes the museum and village special,” she said.

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