MT. PLEASANT — The Midwest Old Threshers Reunion 2020 has been canceled due to challenges surrounding the coronavirus pandemic. The organization will be shifting focus onto planning the following year’s Reunion, slated to take place Sept. 2-6, 2021.
CEO Terry McWilliams announced the cancellation of the five-day event, planned for Sept. 3-7, at a news conference on Wednesday afternoon, a decision made by the organization’s board of directors Tuesday night.
“The biggest part of our Old Threshers family is those visitors that come to Mt. Pleasant, Iowa, Henry County over Labor Day weekend for five days. And folks, they come from all over the world, which makes our Old Threshers family huge, and we rely on each other to make it happen every year,” McWilliams said.
In order to move forward with the Reunion, the organization had to contend with strict social distancing and sanitization guidelines as well as the loss of volunteers, coordinators and civic groups involved with the event.
“We have considered the overall health and safety of our entire Old Threshers family, the Mt. Pleasant community, residents of Henry County and all surrounding counties. Indeed, the health implications of holding the Reunion could have a far-reaching impact,” McWilliams said.
The CEO added it became “harder and harder everyday because of [the] cost implications,” due to losing volunteers, and ultimately made the decision to cancel the event in order to protect the health of the community and visitors
“If somebody got sick and they died because they were here and they caught the COVID, how would we feel? It goes back to our family,” McWilliams said.
Although Old Threshers will not be taking place this year, McWilliams announced the first ever ‘Sweet 17’ will be held at the 2021 Reunion to include girls who had signed up for the annual ‘Sweet 16’ contest for this upcoming year. Additionally, Lorrie Morgan, Craig Morgan and Rodney Atkins, performers who were scheduled to appear at the 2020 Reunion have agreed to reschedule for the following year as well. McWilliams said the organization is working to reschedule singer Carly Pearce as well. All featured tractors, steam engines and other items, will be moved to the 2021 Reunion. The Harvest Day Parade grand marshals, John and Susie Kuhens, agreed to stay on for the following year.
“I’m very excited because we’re going to start promoting 2021 right here today. John and Susie Kuhens are our grand marshals for this year’s parade and have agreed to do it and be the longest running grand marshals in history. John is concerned he will eat the 6,000 pounds of candy between now and then … It is the right decision, we will gather again in 2021,” McWilliams said.