For the August long weekend, Steinbach and the surrounding area celebrated the city's history and those who built it into what it is today.  

Thousands of community members and visitors came through the Mennonite Heritage Village (MHV) for their three-day Pioneer Days festivities. 

From demonstrations and fascinating stories to must-try foods and rides, there was no shortage of activities. Many displayed what life was like in the past.  

With curiosity and material, Al Hamm pursued his passion for genealogy in 1970.  

“I wanted to know about my family's history. To see how far back could my family go? So, I started with that many, many years ago, before computers were online, and I started with the manual paper and books that were available and records that were available,” Hamm recalls. 

Al HammAl Hamm

Fifty years later, he and a team of genealogy enthusiasts help others with Mennonite roots to discover their family history. 

“A lot of people really want to know, where did we come from? What is my history? Who were my ancestors? And so, for them, that's very important,” he says. 

Originally from Uganda, Jonn Mahi has lived all over the world, including the United Kingdom and Alberta, before settling in Steinbach 36 years ago. 

Now, Mahi volunteers at MHV and teaches ropemaking “the antique way” as his contribution to the community. 

“It's a very straightforward, simple process. You wind the rope up one way and then the other way, and then it just gets tight, and you turn a string, baler twine into a rope. In the olden days, they used to use hemp or Sisal, but now we use plastic,” Mahi explains. 

John Mahi and his grandsonJohn Mahi and his grandson

Mahi adds they make at least 50 per day, and many are seen playing with their ropes around the village afterwards. 

The windmill is an icon associated with the MHV. At this year’s Pioneer Days celebration, volunteer George Klassen fulfilled the curiosity of many through stories and models of the windmill’s parts.  

Even with wheat and flour production being more productive nowadays, Klassen believes in the importance of teaching how it was done in the past.  

“One hundred years or 500 years ago, this is the only way that the wheat could be ground. And so, it's important for us to see the history,” Klassen says. 

George KlassenGeorge Klassen

He shares the specifics when it comes to the windmill’s production.  

“We can, in ideal conditions, mill 400 lbs. of wheat in an hour. Ideally, we have an upper limit and the lower limit. Ideally, it would be 35 kilometres per hour. Anything over 45 is too much. Anything less than 25 is impossible,” he explains. 

The wheat and flour are used by the Livery Barn restaurant and sold at the General Store. 

It’s your time to win big with Wendy’s Show Us Your Summer! 

This week, show us a photo of you dancing to or enjoying your favourite summer music for a chance to win two weekend passes plus camping for Luke Combs at Country Thunder 2024. We are also giving away a brand-new trailer from Steinbach Trailers and RV, and there are still golden tickets waiting to be in your hands. Take a selfie with us at events or the trailer, scan the QR code and submit your photo! 

Keep checking the Wendy’s Show Us Your Summer page on SteinbachOnline and listening to our radio stations to find out where we’ll be next and not miss out on any contests! 


Check out the video and photo gallery from Pioneer Days at the MHV: 

@steinbach_online Sights and sounds at the Pioneer Days festivities at MHV in under a minute ⏱️ #fyp #museum #steinbach #canada #manitoba #animals #candy #summer ♬ original sound - SteinbachOnline