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Mini Steam & Gas Engine Show returns to McGregor


by Adam Gault

For more than 35-years, enthusiasts have convened for the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Museum’s annual weekend show at the museum’s McGregor grounds, and this year was no exception.

  With earlier pandemic restrictions looking like the long-running show might be cancelled this year, the show did go on this past weekend, amid, now familiar, COVID-era restrictions. The event highlighted the critical role steam and gas engines have played in the progression and development of modern agricultural practices, and more than a century of mechanical development.

  While a stripped-down affair compared to previous years, the event still featured a number of vendors, equipment demonstrations, and tractor pulls.

  Several attendees did express some disappointment, however, as with this year’s smaller turnout, there were no threshing or saw-mill demonstration.

  “Some people are not as happy, but it’s better than nothing,” Gary Struhar, President of the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum, explained of the smaller than normal event. “We’re trying to put on a half-decent show with what we’re limited with.”

  The show is also a critical fundraising activity for the local museum, and the successful weekend event could not have come at a better time, as many cultural institutions have been struggling with fundraising for the better part of 2020.

  “Right now, the long-term, I’m seeing that we will be around with no problems,” Struhar said of the museum’s financial status.

  Part of that success can be attributed to museum members, like Marcel Rivest, a member of more than 30-years, whose passion for historical engines came through in the care of his pristine 1918 machine.

  “I look at these [machines] and I see the transformations of where we are today,” Rivest said of his love of their historical aspect. “This one would have probably been under a windmill, and they would use it to get water on days with no wind.”

  The museum is still seeking new members at this time. For additional membership info, contact President Gary Struhar at (519) 817-5712.

© 2020 The Essex Free Press ltd.

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