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Throwback Thursday: Sun smiles down as farmers enjoy a picnic
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Throwback Thursday: Sun smiles down as farmers enjoy a picnic

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Mob of Model Ts

More than 10,000 people and nearly as many Model Ts crowded Farmers' Community Park near Stockton for the 1926 Winona County Farm Bureau Picnic. A good time was had by all -- at least until it came time to find the car, that is.

This story originally appeared on June 15, 1926, in the Winona Republican-Herald, a predecessor of the Winona Daily News.

The sun smiled as the farmers and merchants of Winona County gathered at the Farmers’ Community Park in Stockton valley this morning. And the smile of the sun was reflected in the face of the picnickers as they thought of the boost the change in weather would give the corn in the fields at home.

The corn was about the only thing left at home, judging by the uncounted automobiles and the thousands of Winona County residents swarming about the Arches picnic grounds.

The sudden change of heart of the weatherman who yesterday grouchily promised rain at noon gave promise of swelling the crowd to a full 10,000 merry-makers, as forecast by J.T. McNulty, county agent of Winona County, who headed the committees that arranged for the affair, the annual picnic of the Winona County Farm Bureau.

Not only was the representation of farmers close to 100 percent, but with business at a standstill in Lewiston, Stockton and Utica and stores in other towns and in Winona running short-handed, hundreds of townspeople helped swell the throng until it threatened to push out over the bluffs towering around the picnic grounds.

The holiday effect was heightened when the Rollingstone band arrived and from the new bandstand sent rollicking forth its lively tunes to add a musical note to the buzz of conversation and the shifting gears of parking automobiles.

Tables Filled With DelicaciesLong before noon all picnic tables in the park had been taken possession of and piled high with the delicacies that the housewives of the county had been busy preparing all day yesterday. Those with overly ambitious appetites were staving off the attacks of hunger until mealtime by downing ice cream cones and other eatables offered by the numerous refreshment stands.

The larger group early split up into smaller units as neighbor sighted neighbor and sat down on handy running boards to talk about crops or the nearing election.

Much of the crowd early sought out the baseball field where the crowded sports program was opened by the kittenball game between the Guernsey breeders and the Holstein breeders. As soon as the rival cattle raisers had settled their differences, Dakota players took the field against the representatives of Hart and battled furiously in an effort to finish their contest in time for a late lunch at 12:30.

Those sports fans whose tastes ran to the good old game of horseshoe gathered about the eight new courts constructed for the occasion to watch the preliminaries of the shoe pitching contests.

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The Guernsey Breeders defeated the Holstein Breeders at diamond ball by a score of 9 to 6 in a game which furnished considerable amusement to the large crowd of spectators.

The Altura town team was acclaimed horseshoe pitching champions in its division by reason of well-deserved victories over the towns of Bethany and Stockton. Altura was represented by Henschen and Larson, while the Stockton team was composed of Stetwagen and Benecke. Trader and Nelson threw the quoits for Bethany.

The scores were: Altura 40, Bethany 39; Altura 60, Bethany IB; Altura 50, Stockton 20.

Speaker on Hand

At 1 p.m. Sam Thompson, president of the National Farm Bureau Federation and one of the agricultural leaders of the country, was to address the assembled farmers. He arrived in Winona at 8:15 this morning and left immediately for the picnic to get acquainted with the local members of the monster organization he heads.

Following Mr. Thompson’s talk, Mrs. C.R. Armstrong of Good Thunder, Minn., was scheduled to make an address. She is an active worker in the Farm Bureau. Between the two talks a male chorus composed of singers from Altura, Elba, Mount Vernon and Rollingstone entertained.

Renew Athletic Program

Following the speeches, the athletic program was to be renewed with increased vigor. The feature of the afternoon activities was the baseball game between the Dover-St. Charles baseball nine and the Witoka outfit.

Clarence Ford of Wiscoy was in charge of the school children’s races which started at 1 p.m. The buttermakers contest was to start at 3 p.m. The old-time fiddlers of Houston, Fillmore, and Winona counties also battled for supremacy after the finish of the speeches.

The girls’ ukulele quartet of Wykoff, the girls’ quartet of Oak Ridge and other entertainment features to fill the day more than full.

Fred Randall of Lewiston, Louis Speltz, Andrew Graden, Max Splittstosser and Floyd Waldo were among those active in running of the picnic program.

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