There aren’t many places you can go anymore where it feels like you’re truly stepping back in time. Your grandma’s house and the entire state of Vermont both come to mind, but those places come with the setbacks of having to explain how a DVD player functions ad nauseum and not being able to take two steps without sinking into a trough of maple syrup, respectively. Buckstop Junction suffers from neither such shortcoming. Their collection of lovingly restored and maintained classic buildings from throughout the area serves as an inspiring reminder that we haven’t left history behind but are merely only continuing it, and it always makes for a fine summer outing. Buckstop Junction will be at its absolute best on August 17th, because that is when they will throw their Harvest Festival.
Buckstop Junction aficionados will perceive at once that the Harvest Festival coincides with the annual Corn Feed, one of the Midwest’s preeminent corn-themed celebrations. In fact, the Harvest Festival has replaced the Corn Feed altogether, although it hasn’t done so without keeping the Corn Feed’s key, beloved elements. Hot, fresh ears of corn will be served, as will the very classic German dishes which fueled the construction of so many of Buckstop Junction’s fine old buildings in the first place.
Like its predecessor, the Harvest Festival is especially geared toward children. Inquisitive squirts will love the scavenger hunt, which comes with a list of 20 questions that only thorough investigation of Buckstop Junction’s several buildings will yield answers to. For the first time ever the Pioneer Auto Club will host a car show in conjunction with the festival, showcasing up to 100 classics which range in origin from the teens to the 1950s, and providing rides in some of them as well. Fifteen to 20 vintage John Deere tractors will be on display as well — your kids can see what tractors looked like before they were interlaced with proprietary software! Perhaps best of all, there will be rock painting, so kids can join the good fight against the Bismarck area’s drab rock epidemic.
Buckstop Junction has always got the best things for sale. This year’s Harvest Festival market will feature more than 30 vendors who specialize in handcrafting new articles as well as upcycling old ones. The silent auction will have some truly unique offerings as well. Vintage liquors, still in every way as potent as the day they were bottled, will be up for auction, as will crystal perfume bottles, jewelry, vintage clothing, Christmas decorations, and other antiques. There will even be a Commodore 64 computer for auction along with two boxes of the old machine’s paraphernalia — if you still haven’t beaten Pitfall or Maniac Mansion after all these years, this could finally be your chance. (You don’t have to wait until the Harvest Festival to shop at Buckstop Junction — their beautiful Vintage Shoppe full of things new and old is open Saturdays throughout the season, and their Christmas in July event will offer 50s and 60s era holiday decorations on every Saturday during the month as well.)
This year’s Harvest Festival crescendos with the dedication of the newest addition to Buckstop Junction’s collection: the Bingenheimer Mercantile Company. Graciously donated by Skeels Electric, the old general store once served as Chesak Seed House, one of the Bismarck area’s earliest seed distributors until it was shuttered in the 1960s. It had been relegated to storage use until it was moved to its new home, where it has been meticulously restored to all its original glory. The ceremony will take 15 minutes and include an overview of the store’s role in the creation of the modernity which we all enjoy today.
The Harvest Festival will be held on August 17th from 9am until 4pm. Admission is $5 for ages nine and older, and all proceeds will go toward helping Buckstop Junction stay on their course to preserve our past. You can visit Buckstop Junction at 3805 E Bismarck Expy in Bismarck, or go to buckstopjunction.org to learn more.
By David Scheller