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 Who National Traditional Country Music Association
 When August 16, 2004
 Where Anita, IA
 Source National Traditional Country Music Association

Missouri Valley, Iowa—It started in 1976, in Council Bluffs, Iowa, and has gone through several name changes, but the gist and concept of a Pioneer Ag Expo, has always been an integral part of the National Old Time Music Festival. The music festival is actually the entertainment for the Ag Expo.

According to Bob Everhart, President of the National Traditional Country Music Assn., "When we started in 1976, we wanted to not only do the music of the pioneers, we wanted to preserve and safe guard the survival crafts of our pioneers. We started at Westfair in honor of the Bicentennial, and moved to another location six years later. In that move, the name changed from a Pioneers Arts and Survival Crafts Expo, to simply the Avoca Ag Expo. We're quite different from say a county or state fair. We don't bake apple pies to win a blue ribbon, for instance, we bake apple pies so show people how to do it. We don't raise beef cattle to see who has the biggest and best, we show people how the pioneers raised their cattle without steroids and chemicals, to be natural pure beef. And we don't do it to win ribbons, we do it to show people how the pioneers could butcher out a beeve or pig, and preserve it without electricity, refrig! eration, or modern canning techniques. If we lost those very important energy sources today, many people would not know how to practice the survival crafts of our pioneers. That's why you will find goats at our expo for instance. Not to win ribbons, but to show people how to milk them, how to make cheese, and how Rouquerfort Cheese gets it's distinctive flavor. It's the same with crafts. We present at our Pioneer Ag Expo (which is our newest name), everything from shearing sheep and spinning yarn, to weaving usable fabric for clothing (which we also demonstrate) to making quilts. We do the same with flax, to make linen. Hand made furniture, in the old way, to toys made for children, without those energy sources, is not only fun, it's practical, and certainly entertaining. We are true preservationists of our pioneer life style, and how their agriculture survived. We "are" the pioneers of the future."

&auot;The Pioneer Ag Expo goes on throughout the seven day run of the festival, August 30-September 5. There is also a number of cooking workshops, showing people how to bake bread in a dutch oven over an open fire, how to cook 80 gallons of steak & vegetable stew to a delicious fervor, (and then give it all away), how to make coffee from ingredients that do not contain coffee, and how to cook 80 gallons of Iowa ham and Texas pinto beans (also to be given away). The Pioneer Ag Expo, is about a lot more than just the pioneer's love of old-time music."

According to Virginia Armstrong, Public Relations Director of the NTCMA, "The festival, and the Pioneer Ag Expo have been members of the IAFE (International Association of Fairs and Expositions) for a number of years, and are just now in the planning stages of taking this pioneer concept of survival crafts and music to Europe as part of the "American Traditional Music & Dance Festival." We hope to accomplish that within the next few years. In the meantime, we will continue to be the pioneers of the future, as we not only save our past, but bring it to us."

Another feature of the Pioneer Ag Expo is a number of exhibitions and demonstrations on wildlife, especially wildlife native to the mid-west prairie lands. The Conservation Commission sends a number of knowledgeable presentes to talk about wild life, game, raptors, and the ways and means to protect them.

The festival will take place at the Harrison County Fairgrounds in Missouri Valley, Iowa, August 30-September 5. A major portion of the earnings from this event goes to the upkeep and improvement of the Pioneer Music Museum, which is also expanding it's pioneer survival craft exhibition. It is located on main street in Anita, Iowa.

More information on the Pioneer Ag Expo, and the 29th National Old Time Bluegrass and Country Festival and Contest, can be received at P O Box 492, Anita, Iowa, or telephoning 712-762-4363.

E-mail response is available at: bobeverhart@yahoo.com

 Contact Sheila Everhart, Vice President
National Traditional Country Music Association
(712) 762-4363


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