PALMER —With a dusting of snow on Matanuska Peak, the Antique Power Club of Alaska harvested oats and plowed and seeded the land at the historic Raymond Rebarchek Colony Farm to get ready for winter. The farm is next to the Alaska State Fair grounds and consists of the original 40 acre tract from the Matanuska Valley Colony project in 1935, part of President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s New Deal resettlement plan during the Great Depression.
During what would have been the final weekend of the Alaska State Fair, a smaller event named Harvest Fest was held to celebrate agriculture and carry on the traditions of the fair in the wake of the coronavirus pandemic.
While stacking bundles of oats on a trailer, Curtis Rustad said, “I grew up on a farm in Minnesota doing similar activities like this. I really enjoyed it as a kid. It brings back a lot of cool memories.”
Mike Kerr of Anchorage said he found it enjoyable. “I get to drive my tractor for a useful purpose,” Kerr said. “A hundred years ago a 10-year-old kid with a pitch fork was more skilled than I am at throwing the bundles on a wagon.”
Antique Power Club of Alaska president Richard Greeno said “I was never a farmer. I came from Wisconsin. My dad was a farmer, all my cousins, uncles and aunts are farmers in Wisconsin, so I come by it naturally."