BREMEN — Cold weather and rain didn’t keep people from coming to the second annual Rentown Old Fashion Days event. The two-day event was held by the Rentown Amish community in order to benefit the local schoolhouse, Rolling Prairie. Pheanis Wickey, the announcer of the event and one of the six committee leaders who helped bring Rentown Days to fruition, spoke about the meticulous planning needed in order for everything to go smoothly.
“The whole community is involved,” he said. “It takes everyone for it to work.”
Wickey also commented on a common misconception concerning the name Rentown. Many people, even locally, believe Rentown to refer only to the store. According to Wickey, Rentown received its name from the first two farmers who lived on Birch Road and were known for never being home. “Ren” in their German dialect is slang for “run-around.” Therefore, the name of the entire community became Rentown, or Run-around-town. Though the store certainly has an important role to play in the two day event, Wickey stressed the effort of the entire community.
Last year Rentown Old Fashion Days was large, but this year it was even bigger and featured more vendors. There were a wide variety of products for visitors to view or purchase including aprons, wood carvings, canes, wooden spoons, and other handcrafted items. One particularly popular booth showcased Charles Lutes’ hand crafted toys. Lutes, who has been making toys for the past 10 years, forms miniature tractors, motorcycles, bull dozers, and semi-trucks. He makes the models based off of originals and attempts to make his toys as realistic as possible.
In addition to the products on display at the booths, visitors could view a wide range of farm equipment, both modern and antique. There were many tractors on display from Koontz’ Tractor Show, which in previous years was held in downtown Bremen. Also present was a Rumley Oil Pull, a rare piece of equipment that in the past was used to power threshing machines.
While visitors spent their time at the vendors’ booths or looking at the equipment, there was a plethora of food and drink for them to enjoy. Many people ordered the ham and beans, the “most talked about food item” according to Wickey. Brats, hamburgers, cornbread, and other freshly cooked foods were also available. New this year was the beverage building containing barrels that poured out hot cider, cold cider, and coffee for visitors to purchase. Next to the beverage building people could watch apples being thrown into a grinder to juice them in preparation for the making of the cider. Due to the amount of people who showed up to this event, Wickey said he believes it will continue for years to come.