Steam supports Smithsburg sports

September 03, 1997


Staff Writer

SMITHSBURG, Md. - Smithsburg's Steam Engine and Craft Show will celebrate its 25th anniversary in two years.

This year's event, scheduled for Sept. 27-28, follows the long-standing tradition of getting people hooked on machines - if only for a weekend - while raising money for Smithsburg High School's athletic programs. It is sponsored by the Smithsburg Athletic Leopard Booster Club.

"We get tremendous response. We're pushed almost as far as we can go for space and crowds," said event committee member Wayne Smith, 64, of Seminole Drive.

Russell Wolfinger Jr., 63, of Miller Church Road in Hagerstown said he showed six or seven tractors at last year's Steam and Craft show.


His collection of 10 tractors includes two reddish-orange Flambeau Case tractors from the 1940s and early 1950s series. He's also proud of a Case gray series from 1929, the oldest one he owns. All three, and others, will be in the parade again this year, he said.

The first steam engines had steel wheels, Wolfinger said. The 1929 models had cranks, which were replaced by starters in the 1940s.

"We like the antique ones from the '50s on back. We don't want new ones out there," said Smith, a 20-year show supporter.

Spectators can expect to view about six steam engines and 100 gas-powered tractors at the show on the grounds of Smithsburg Fire Hall.

In addition to steam engine displays, about 50 flea market vendors and 60 craft vendors will set up tables.

For hungry show-goers, ham sandwiches, french fries, barbecued items, hot dogs, crab cakes, apple pies and hot bean soup will be available.

"And `Leopard stew,' named for the Smithsburg Leopards. We probably sell eight kettles of soup a day," Smith said.

"We have a whole bunch of parents over there ... a lot of help from parents to run the concession stands."

On Saturday, Sept. 27, the show runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. with a parade at 5 p.m.

On Sunday, Sept. 28, hours are noon to 6 p.m.

Demonstrations include the popular threshing machines that separate bundles of wheat into grain and straw. There will be two threshing machines at the show.

"Threshing is part of the history of the area," Smith said. "When I was a kid out of Ringgold, I'd watch the thresher. All the farmers wouldn't have a threshing machine, so one would go from farm to farm."

Some people bring lawn chairs and watch the saw mills for hours, Smith said.

"For older people, a lot of it is nostalgia. For younger people, it's history - how it used to be done," Smith said.

"We meet people that weekend - the people we work and deal with. It's a big reunion once a year," said Wolfinger, who attended his first show in 1979.

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