Our theme in 2013 was Windmills, Sailing the Skies. Our curators put a great deal of effort into researching the history of windmills, in general and among Mennonites. With the help of a Heritage Grant from the Province of Manitoba, a Winnipeg Foundation Grant, and considerable volunteer labour from Peter Wiebe and Jared Nickel, a very interesting and educational exhibit was created and displayed in the Gerhard Ens Gallery. A model windmill scaled to our iconic real windmill was constructed and several old windmills were restored.
Our collection of artifacts grew throughout the year. We also made progress in the restoration of a number of our artifact buildings. The Peters Barn finally got its new roof, thanks in large part to a Community Places Grant and the people at Cornerstone Timberframes and AM Roofing. Thanks to Douglas Doerksen, Murray Doerksen, Peter Doerksen, Kelvin Goertzen and Wilma Kroeker, who stepped up to the plate on very short notice, the Barkfield School is sporting a fine new coat of paint.
The rental of our facilities for banquets, weddings, meetings, workshops, family gatherings, etc. continued to grow under the new leadership of Roger Ginter. Thanks to donations from The MHV Auxiliary and The Steinbach Credit Union, and a grant from the Federal Government, we were able to do several upgrades to our Auditorium, our most popular rental venue. Air conditioning, a new projection system and a new fire exit were installed to make the facility safer and more user-friendly.
We received many complements on the condition of the grounds. The generally good weather, hard work on the part of our facilities staff and volunteers, and a fine new fleet of yard equipment from Enns Brothers made it possible for us to maintain the yard on a timely basis. The contributions of Diamond Construction and Gravel and the Steinbach and Area Garden Club were also significant and very much appreciated.
We had the opportunity to host and connect with many guests, including a significant number of first-time visitors. Despite inclement weather during our Spring on the Farm and Touch of Christmas festivals we hosted more than 12,000 guests during our 10 days of festivals. Fundraising activities such as The Tractor Trek, the waffle booth at Summer in the City and The Heritage Classic Golf Tournament allowed us to connect with hundreds more. We appreciate the relationship we enjoy with those who sponsor these various events.
Every year we experience some staff changes. Dora Penner returned after a three year break to manage our food services. With the support of many returning employees, she continued the fine tradition of preparing three kinds of homemade soup and two kinds of homemade bread every Thursday for lunch during the summer. She also introduced a Saturday Brunch which became quite popular. Marigold Peters made a decision to move down a different path in her career pursuits. Roger Ginter took over some of her responsibilities and Roxanna Martens took the rest. Roxanna also took over the work of Edna Klassen who chose to retire at the end of our summer season.
We have experienced a lot of support from our constituency and we are grateful for all of it. We thank volunteers, individual donors, businesses and governments for the support offered to MHV in 2013.