Batavia to revel in its windmill history with trade fair this week
Bob and Francine Popeck are button-bursting proud of the fact Batavia gets to host the 24th annual International Windmillers Trade Fair this week.
"It's really, really going to be a great event," Bob Popeck said of the affair, which takes place June 14-16.
It's a chance to show off the town he has loved since childhood ó a town that once was renowned for supplying windmills to the world. A visit to his house confirms that love; it is filled with antique and other items either made or branded Batavia, including Bowman Dairy milk bottles; windmill vanes; Batavia-brand food cans; and flatirons made at the Shumway Foundry.
"Everything in this house has a story," Bob Popeck said. There are even windmills in his backyard.
Bob moved from Cicero to Batavia in 1947, when he was 12; the old U.S. Wind Engine and Pump Co. factory, once the world's largest manufacturer of windmills, was still standing. At one time, the town had six windmill companies, and was called "The Windmill Capital of the World."
Bob Popeck became fascinated with windmills. "I like mechanical things," he said. "These are like sculpture." He began collecting them, in pieces and parts. They now decorate a plaza in front of the Batavia Government Center, the Depot Museum, and commercial properties throughout town.
He collects only windmills made in Batavia. They were used mostly to pump water on farms, or to tanks along rail lines to supply steam engines, in the western United States and rural areas worldwide.
It's the second time Batavia has hosted the trade fair; the last was in 1996. "We talk crazy windmill talk," Bob Popeck said ó about their finds, restoration efforts, old parts.
The trade fair also will feature demonstrations of farm machinery made in Batavia, such as corn shellers. There will be a presentation on Batavia's connection to the starting of Flag Day; tours of the re-purposed Challenge windmill company building; a tour of Fermilab; sales of windmill parts and memorabilia; and a tour of a different kind of windmill, the Dutch one, at Fabyan Forest Preserve in Geneva.
The fair is at Batavia High School. Admission to events open to the public is $5, with the proceeds going to the windmill maintenance fund for repair and upkeep of windmills on City of Batavia property.
People can also register to attend the fair for $50, which will get them in to members-only events, including a private tour of the Dutch windmill, of inventor Daniel Halladay's house, a tour of a Frank Lloyd Wright house once owned by a Challenge Co. president, a tour of Flag Source/J.C. Schultz Corp., a banquet Friday night and a buffet Saturday.
For details, visit windmillerstradefair.com, or email the Popecks at firstname.lastname@example.org.
- Share Facebook Twitter
Article sent to (required)E-mail
Article sent from (required)E-mail Name
Subject Line (article title)
Message (optional)Success - Article sent Click to close
Interested in reusing this article?
Custom reprints are a powerful and strategic way to share your article with customers, employees and prospects.
The YGS Group provides digital and printed reprint services for Daily Herald. Complete the form to the right and a reprint consultant will contact you to discuss how you can reuse this article.Need more information about reprints? Visit our Reprints Section for more details.
Contact information ( * required )Name * Company Telephone * E-mail *
Article InformationTitle URL
Message (optional)Success - Reprint request sent Click to close