Goshen News, Goshen, IN

Local News

September 10, 2012

Engines, food and activities part of annual Bonneyville event

BRISTOL — The chug of antique tractors, smells of kettle corn and bright Sunday sunshine filled the air at the 30th Annual Bonneyville Celebration.

Goshen resident Jim Yoder brought out most of his collection of antique engines and tractors to the event.

“My favorite one is this engine,” he said, pointing to a chugging and puffing engine on display. “It’s from 1920, and it’s gas-powered. It’s a horse-and-a-half (worth of power).”

Yoder has brought tractors to the event for around 20 years, he said. He began when he was asked by one of the first creators of the Bonneyville Celebration, and he hasn’t stopped.

His brother Dave Yoder scooted around the tractor and engine area on a steam engine built by their father. Jim Yoder said the engine was begun around 1956, and Dave Yoder said it was finished around 1960.

“I get a lot of compliments, especially from the younger people,” Dave Yoder said. “They always ask how it runs on fire. The kids are intrigued by it. It’s pretty neat to keep it in the family.”

Elkhart County Parks Superintendent of Operations Ronda DeCaire said the celebration will bring between 3,000 and 5,000 people.

“They come out for the music, food and agriculture,” DeCaire said. “People like the old-fashioned atmosphere.”

As a part of the 30th year celebration, the parks department has put up a comment board for attendees to leave ideas, suggestions and comments, DeCaire said.

South Bend resident Paul Drake drove his family down to see the celebration. He found out about it through the popular social networking site Facebook.

“This is our first time down here,” he said with a smile. “The root beer is delicious!”

Drake was not the only one complimenting the food selections. Bill Greenhood, with his wife Sylvia and family, enjoyed activities and food Sunday.

“(My grandchildren) like the hands-on, doing-things activities,” he said. “Grandpa likes all of the smells.”

Not everything was edible at the celebration, though. Chris Dietz’s pumpkin carving demonstration turned out beautiful works of art — not for eating.

“It’s a fun activity,” he said. “I take a lot of pleasure in it and pleasure in people liking it.”

Dietz said he began pumpkin carving in 1971, when a 13-year-old Dietz carved a peace sign in a pumpkin and realized that there were more possibilities for art than just jack-o’-lantern faces.

“My kids started making requests (as they grew up),” he said. “I do all original designs, but I had to look up how to do some things, like an Angry Bird (from a popular cell phone game).”

Dietz said it takes two to three hours to complete the more complicated designs. With all the time invested, though, he doesn’t want to keep them around any longer than nature allows.

“People as me how I preserve them or make them last longer,” he said. “The truth is that I haven’t tried and I don’t want to. It’s temporary art — it’s neat that they have a short life.”

For more information on Bonneyville Mill, visit www.elkhartcountyparks.org.

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