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Photos: Harvest Fest revisits traditions at an original Matanuska Colony farm

  • Author: Bill Roth
  • Updated: September 11
  • Published September 10

Richard Greeno , president of the Antique Power Club of Alaska, drives an old tractor as he plows the land during Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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.

Curtis Rustad stacked bundles of oats on a trailer during Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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 drives his tractor while harvesting oats during Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)

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."

Richard Greeno drives his Allis-Chalmers tractor as he plows it under during Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Standing near a 1917 La Crosse grain drill, Al Hecker holds a handful of oats and pea seed that were planted during Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)
Mike Kerr carries a bundle of oats during Harvest Fest on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020. (Bill Roth / ADN)
George Greeno, 88, plows a field at the historic Rebarchek Colony Farm with his 1938 Allis-Chalmers WC tractor on Sunday, Sept. 6, 2020, as the Antique Power Club of Alaska participated during Harvest Fest, a smaller event to carry on the traditions of the Alaska State Fair in Palmer, while minimizing health risk during the coronavirus pandemic. (Bill Roth / ADN)


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