HOLMBERG: Step into the noisy, soulful past at the Field Days in Rockville

Posted at 10:50 AM, Sep 20, 2014
and last updated 2014-09-20 13:31:50-04

ROCKVILLE- The Field Days of the Past in the country just west of Richmond’s Short Pump is like a State Fair with all kinds of antique machines that shaped this land. Along with some serious tractor pulling.

It’s a weekend event that’s jammed with people (they drew 36,000 last year) who want to step back into the past with  steam and old iron, the early years of tractors and trucks and farm and mining equipment. When an automatic corn sheller was a big deal, along with a “hit-or-miss” gas powered washing machine motor back when most folks didn’t have electricity.

Back when folks fixed their own stuff. Long before there were cell phones, or phones at all. Before OSHA, when an old milling machine shook and gasped like it was angry and could gobble an arm  - or a man.

“It was a way for people to make a living we are not used to today when technology is so much a part of our lives,” said Joe Liesfield with the event, who showed CBS-6 around and operated one of the steam sawmills on the site. “And hard work, whether it was sawmilling or farming or starting with the first trucks in the 1920s and ‘30s. It was a job and a way to provide for their families and I think we should look back and respect that.”

It’s the kind of event that had a clear, open prayer Friday. Where many covered their hearts during the playing of the National Anthem before the evening’s truck pull.

“You cannot forget where you came from,” said Virginia Millener, whose husband had a mean old Ford truck that pulled like a monster  on the track.

There’s lots of food vendors , fair rides, petting barns and other hands-on activities. Admission is $15 Saturday ($8 for senior citizens) and $10 on Sunday. Children under 12 are free on both days.

The Field Days of the past is  held on a field between Broad Street and Interstate 64 on Ashland Road (Route 623). If you come by I-64, take exit 173.

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