Plagman Barn Show Days 40 year anniversary

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A Ruley steam-engine powers the saw mill at the Plagman Barn Show Days on Sept. 17, 18 and 19. (Press photo by Melissa Spielbauer-Combs)

By Caroline Rosacker

The 40th annual Northeast Iowa Farm and Antique Association Plagman Barn Show Days will be held on Sept. 17, 18 and 19. Plagman Barn is located at 28384 Garber Road (C7X) 10 miles west of Guttenberg. 

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 are free. A shuttle service will be available for visitors to tour the grounds for a more enjoyable and convenient experience. 

Daily demonstrations and offerings 

The dedicated Plagman Barn volunteers will operate steam-powered engines, single-cylinder engines, and horse-drawn equipment. Demonstrations on sheep shearing, threshing oats, chopping silage, baling straw, rock crushing, and cutting wood from logs at 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. A country store and large flea market will also be held on the premises. Children's activities include a country school house and Hole in the Sock Gang. 

Musical entertainment

Music will be provided for your dancing and listening pleasure. Sit back and listen, or step out onto the barn's iconic dance floor to the easy listening sounds of Dave Poggenklass on Friday, from 10 a.m.- 2 p.m.; Darrell, Jacque and Connie on Saturday, from 12:30 - 4 p.m. and Sounds of Nashville on Sunday, from 12:30 - 4 p.m. 

Food stand

Food will be served daily from the Plagman Barn food stand. The Balltown Safari Club will be serving ice cream, and Caroline's Kitchen and White Barn - St. Patrick Church will offer hamburgers and fries. Plagman Barn's famous chicken dinner will be served on Sunday, from 11 a.m - ?.

Raffle drawings

Raffle tickets will be sold throughout the weekend for the chance to win a John Deere 318 Lawn Mower with bagger, handmade quilts and kids toys. The raffle drawing will be held on Sunday at 4 p.m. 

Plagman Barn history

Bill and Emma Plagman built Plagman Barn as a dance barn in the 1920s. 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. Arnold Plagman, son of Bill and Emma, held the final dance 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 to the antique association's philosophy. Each year students from area schools make a pilgrimage to Plagman Barn to learn about their agricultural history. 


The Northeast Iowa Farm Antique Association is looking for additional volunteer members. "We are in need of volunteers to step forward and help out in any capacity they are able," said event organizers. "We always need help in the kitchen and are looking for more people to assist with demonstrations. This event would not be possible without our dedicated volunteers." 

For additional information or 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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