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Thumb Octagon Barn Slates Fall Family Days Sept. 9-11

Event at Gagetown to Highlight Sugar Beet Industry

August 27, 2005       Leave a Comment
By: Dave Rogers

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10th annual Fall Family Days are September 9-11 at the Thumb Octagon Barn near Gagetown.

It's a flea market! It's an animal show.

It's an old-fashioned farm hoedown.

Yup, pardner, it's all of the above . . . and more.

It's the 10th annual Fall Family Days where a cornucopia of rural life in the early 1900s will be on display Sept. 9-11 at the Thumb Octagon Barn near Gagetown.


The Eastern Michigan Music Makers will provide live music throughout the weekend, and a Gospel Hymn Sing will be held at 10 a.m. Sunday.

C'mon down for the old tractor parade at 3 p.m. both Saturday and Sunday, take a horse drawn wagon ride. Or just stroll through the cool interior of one of the nation's most unique barns, a tribute to days gone by.

The sugar beet industry will be in a special focus in a feature tent with old harvesting equipment and demonstrations of beet harvesting with horses and older tractors.

New this year is a a one-room schoolhouse, moved from Sebewaing. Tours through the adjacent farm house will display improvements made in the past year; many rooms in the 12-room house are now completely furnished and reflect rural life of the 1920s to 1940s era.

Other demonstrations will include a corn binder, grain binder, threshing machine, hay press, and stone gristmill. A sawmill near a creek and shingle mill will be operated as well. A sorghum press and evaporator will produce sorghum syrup and syrup will be on sale.

Special presentations will include hand shearing of sheep, sheep herding by Border Collies, and a third birthday party for the barn's own pot-bellied pig, Ruby.

Friends of the Thumb Octagon Barn hope the 10th Annual Fall Family Days crowds exceed the 12,000 persons who attended the event last year, according to Martin Kubacki and Bob Hirn, chairpersons.

The first 6,000 visitors will receive a commemorative button.

Proceeds from the event wil go toward restoring the barn, an eight-sided, 70 foot high landmark structure that has been preserved by the efforts of 700 members of the Friends group from all over the state, according to Diane Rapson Gabil, advertisingchairperson.

Activities will be kicked off Friday night, Sept. 9, with a fish fry 4-7 p.m. and Music Jam in the barn 7-10 p.m. Organizers urge attendees to bring instruments and join in.

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"Farmer's Breakfasts" are slated Saturday from 8-10 a.m. and Sunday from 8-11:30 a.m. Breakfasts feature eggs to order, bacon, sausage, pancakes, fried potatoes, juice, coffee and milk for $5.

Hands-on activities will include ladies craft workshops both Saturday and Sunday including beginners knitting, dry flower arranging, spinning, weaving, broom making, rope making and splicing and quilt displays.

A special tent will house children's activities and kids can take free "barrel train" rides.

Other displays will include antique tractors, gas engines and pre-1935 antique cars and trucks.

The flea market will offer wares, trifles and trinkets from more than 150 vendors.

The Thumb Octagon Barn is located in Tuscola County about one mile east of Gagetown on Bay City-Forestville Road a mile north of Richie Road.

For more information please contact Martin Kubacki, 989-658-8450, or Bob Hirn, 989-872-3761 (between 7-8 a.m.) or e-mail

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Dave Rogers

Dave Rogers is a former editorial writer for the Bay City Times and a widely read,
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