LINDSBORG — Once a year, the banks of the Smoky Hill River echo with the sound of wheat being poured through steel rollers and processed into flour.

The historic 1898 roller mill will be started up for Millfest and will run from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. May 5 and from noon to 5 p.m. May 6 at McPherson County Old Mill Museum, 120 E. Mill St. in Lindsborg.

“It’s celebrating 120 years of it being here,” said McPherson County Old Mill Museum Director Lorna Nelson.

The Smoky Valley Roller Mill operated until 1955, originally powered by water turbines placed in the Smoky Hill River. The three-story brick building was converted to electricity in 1930s.

Using corrugated steel rollers, the Smoky Valley Roller Mill processed more than 30 bushels of wheat — yielding around 1,300 pounds of flour — per hour.

“We’re grateful that it’s still here,” Nelson said.

Guided tours for those age 13 and older will be given while the mill is in operation. After the mill shuts down at 5 p.m., a kids’ mill tour is available for those under 13 years old.

Touring the mill is just one of the many activities king place at McPherson County Old Mill Museum for Millfest.

New this year is the addition of demonstrations of making brooms and ceramic bowls, with instructors from Bethany College’s Swedish Crafts program present.

Other craftsmen will show attendees the basics of basket weaving, blacksmithing, rope making and wheat weaving.

“There’ll be food across the grounds the entire week,” Nelson said.

Live music will be playing outside for the entire weekend.

Paul Oberg of Wichita, Thad Beach of Salina and Nile Johnson from Lindsborg will share their musical talents May 5. On May 6, visitors can join Lynn Young and Anne Crane from Wichita as they perform traditional tunes on the front lawn. 

Handmade quilts from the McPherson Quilt Guild — with the opportunity to create your own quilt block —will be set up for May 5 only.

On May 6, enjoy free carriage rides with Country Boys Carriage of Newton.     

Visitors can step inside the museum to learn about the Swedish and Mennonite immigrants who came to McPherson County and farmed the area. They can also explore a large area of other historic buildings — from a one-room schoolhouse to a train depot to the Swedish Pavilion constructed for the 1904 World’s Fair.

Admission for Millfest is $2 for adults, $1 for ages 6 to 12 and free for those under 6.

For more information about Millfest and the McPherson County Old Mill Museum, visit, email or call 785-227-3595.