Mankato Free Press: Farmfest sprouted in Vernon Center

EXCERPT: “The community of Vernon Center gained national and even international attention during the week of Sept. 11-17, 1972. Shady Brook Farms just north of the town, owned by Bert Hansen, became the site of the 19th World Ploughing Contest. The yearly gathering blossomed into a 1,400-acre agricultural extravaganza with more than a 1,000 acres of demonstration plots, 65 acres of exhibits, political speakers, entertainment, and the state and national as well as the world ploughing contest. It was called Farmfest USA and it offered all of this for only $2 admission. Falling on an election year, the event featured local candidates Gov. Wendell Anderson and Congressman Anchor Nelson on opening day, accompanying Democratic presidential nominee George McGovern who delivered his major farm message at the event. The current Secretary of Agriculture Earl Butz spoke for the Republican position a few days later. Roy Rogers and Dale Evans put on shows Monday and Tuesday. Charlie Pride was the featured entertainment for Wednesday. Frankie Fontaine, the Bugs Bunny Show and the U.S. Air Force Band and the Thunderbirds entertained the remainder of the week. All led up to the appearance of Bob Hope on Saturday, drawing 80,000-90,000 people to the grounds.” FULLSTORY: