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  • Writer's pictureESSEX FREE PRESS

Annual Steam & Gas Engine Show preserving the history of agriculture


by Sylene Argent

It was full steam ahead for the 36th Annual Steam & Gas Engine Show last weekend, providing an opportunity for community members to get a glimpse into the past.

  Gary Struhar, President of the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum in McGregor, said last week’s event ended up being a good show, with the Saturday schedule of events bringing the most attendees to the event grounds.

  “The idea of hosting the show is we are trying to promote the history of agricultural equipment. Some of the old steam equipment is part of history now,” Struhar said, noting the event is a great way to educate the public about the way things used to be done.

  “They get to see the saw mill being used, and how it starts out as a log, and comes out as a board. It shows how things were actually made, not where to buy them,” he added.

  He noted there was a good crowd on both days threshing and saw mill demonstrations were offered, and those at the event were insisting to see those demonstrations. “There is a demand for the demonstrations. It is mostly grandparents, who want their grandkids to see how things were done in the past.”

  In addition to seeing the demonstrations, youths were able to milk a pretend cow onsite, to get an understanding of how the milk they get from the grocery store is produced.

  The event is a family-friendly activity, Stuhar noted, and this year’s Steam & Gas Engine Show attracted more families with kids than usual. He said the planning committee gave out 64 colouring books, which was much higher than the previous show.

  This year’s show, he added, had more than its average number of vendors. Volunteers had to go buy more food on Saturday, because they ended up selling out, which was great to welcome so many interested individuals to the event grounds.

  This year’s featured tractor was Oliver Tractors & Machinery, and many tractors of this make, in addition to others, were featured during the three-day festival and during Saturday’s parade, which featured 30 pieces of equipment.

  He was pleased with the parade turnout as organizers only had three-weeks to get the parade in order.

  Stan Myers, a mechanic from Belle River, was one of the tractor enthusiasts who brought a slew of equipment for visitors to enjoy looking at during the show. One of the tractors he showed off was a 1929 Rumely Oil Pull he bought around five-years ago.

  As a mechanic, Myer said he enjoys collecting tractors and bringing some of them out to support the annual event.

  Visitors onsite were able to see the tractors on display while listening to live entertainment.

  Next year’s show, Stuhar said, will feature International Harvester Company tractors, and the International Harvester Club of Canada will participate in that event. Struhar said that will be a nice partnership.

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