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Festival to celebrate Harvester’s history

FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WPTA21) – The International Harvester factory here closed 39 years ago. Soon, the doors will open again.

On August 10, 2019, the inaugural “Harvester Homecoming” will invite former workers, their families and enthusiasts to savor the history of a company deeply ingrained in Fort Wayne — and America’s — culture.

Journal Gazette restaurant critic Ryan DuVall is spearheading the event. He first announced the plan in the paper. DuVall is an enthusiast of Harvester’s SUV the Scout —  a vehicle with a cult following and a big reason for many to make travel plans.

The Scout was a rugged, beastly SUV before that type of car was common. From 1961 to 1980, the workers at International Harvester built them by the thousands. They came in many varieties.

By the 1980, the last Scout rolled off the assembly line, but not out of the hearts of its loyal fans.

For many across the country, August 2019 will welcome them to the birthplace of their beloved car with plenty of good company.

Though the Scout is no doubt a treasured piece of the Harvester story, it is not the sole reason for the homecoming. Generations of workers toiled in the bowels of the Harvester factory, building trucks and farm implements. Their work launched their families into the middle class which helped Fort Wayne become the city it is today. The “Harvester Homecoming,” DuVall says, is a celebration of the entire story.

Click here to read DuVall’s story and learn more about the “Harvester Homecoming.”

Brien McElhatten

Brien McElhatten anchors the evening weekday newscasts at ABC21.

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