Pioneer Day

Always the second Sunday in October

Sunday, October 12th 

Noon - 5 pm

Chelsea Standard article about Pioneer Day

The celebration of late 19th century farm life includes tours of the Farm Museum and Dewey School, live music, and demonstrations of crafts, trades, and traditional cooking methods. Now in its fifth decade, Pioneer Day is the premier event on the Waterloo Area Historical Society's calendar. The festivities include activities at both of the Society's locations: the Farm Museum and the Dewey School Museum.

A visit to the Farm Museum and tour includes a complex of farm buildings including the restored ten-room Farmhouse dating from 1855. In the Farmhouse kitchen you will be greeted by the delicious smells of Sunday dinner being readied for the dining room table. A docent in every room will be your guide as you tour the house set with utensils, furniture, clothing, and other household items of the time. There will demonstrations of butter making in the Spring House, hearth cooking in the Log House, brick-oven baking in the Bake House, and blacksmithing in the workshop.

  • Costumed demonstrators will bring history alive
  • Demonstrations of traditional tasks like spinning, dressmaking, weaving and quilting,
  • Exhibits of farm tools used for chores such as corn husking and shelling, cider pressing, and sauerkraut making.
  • Try out stilt-walking or other outdoor games.
  • Musicians playing 
  • Horse-drawn wagon rides
  • Craftspeople demonstrating and selling their wares
  • Farm goods, jams, preserves, apple butter and delicious snacks and treats for sale

Visitors can watch the preparation of meals and if they get hungry, savor some Waterloo Bean Soup, then pick up a jar with the traditional recipe attached to try at home or give as a gift. Whether your taste runs to primitive folk art, woven goods, or wildlife art, you'll find demonstrators with their wares for sale. The Museum Gift Shop will also be open and stocked with items from bygone days, as well as books and souvenirs of the farms well as a wonderful selection of dried flowers and fall arrangements in the barn.

Admission to the Waterloo Farm Museum grounds for this event is $5 for adults and $2 for children aged 5-12. There is no admission charge for children under 5 and members of the Waterloo Area Historical Society. Admission includes a guided tour of the ten-room farmhouse.