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Smithsburg show packs 'em in

September 28, 1998|By TERRY TALBERT

Gray smoke from steam engines chugged across the firehall grounds in Smithsburg on Saturday, greeting a host of visitors to the town's annual Steam & Craft Show.

Unlike last year, when it rained, the sky was blue and the temperature unseasonably hot, hovering in the low 90s. By early afternoon, the show was packed with visitors.

Among the machinery on display were 120 old farm tractors, several railroad steam engines, old gas-powered engines, threshers, shellers and other farm machinery, a stage coach and an old mail coach. On the grounds were two operational shingle mills, and a working lumber mill.

In the heat of the open field that held the tractors, quite a few people were taking in the machines.

James Hahn said he had been coming to the show for years, and used to demonstrate an old cornmeal-making device.

Christopher Trovinger, 10, and Lester Trovinger, 9, clamored over a 1968 model tractor with permission from owner Ronald Smith.

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Smith said he has been bringing his tractors to the Steam & Craft show for 24 years. He didn't mind the boys' interest.

The boys live in Sabillasville next to a pig farm. They help their neighbor with farm chores when they have the time. Lester said he actually drove a farm tractor once, when he was four. Christopher, speaking from the driver's seat, said he'd sure like to give it a try.

Reba Burrier proudly showed off the 15 farm tractors she and her husband, Joe, had on display. The couple ran a dairy farm for 20 years in Frederick County before retiring and settling in the Smithsburg area. They've been collecting tractors for 20 years.

Reba Burrier pointed out three of the machines. "These are our original farm tractors," she said. "I love 'em. I grew up on a farm - was always a farm girl. When I was growing up, my dad had a red tractor. My husband had a red tractor. When we got married, we got a red tractor."

Tim Eyler, 25, wandered through the rows of tractors. "I've always liked them - since I was a kid," he said. While he doesn't have any tractors of his own yet, the Smithsburg-area resident said he has restored a 1966 John Deere 110 lawnmower, and plans on showing it sometime.

Brothers Bud and Carroll Gruber drove 30 miles from their Woodsboro homes to get to Smithsburg.

Bud Gruber owns a farm. Both men are interested in old tractors. They came because they heard it was a good show. "I'm looking for a left-hand mag for my Model E Allis Chalmers tractor," Bud Gruber said.

Carroll Gruber looked around. "This is better than I thought it would be," he said.

Machinery wasn't the only thing drawing attention on Saturday. There were also dozens of craft and specialty booths, and plenty to eat at the show.

The variety of craft items for sale was endless. You could buy NASCAR chimes, dried flowers, pottery, decorative wooden shelves, John Deere pillows, books, jewelry, live plants, toys - including toy tractors - and yes, even Beanie Babies. And that doesn't scratch the surface.

There was no excuse for running out of cash. A bank had two ATMs set up in a trailer on the grounds.

Harold Burgess and his wife came to the show from Hagerstown. He had just finished eating a barbecued beef sandwich and fresh-cut french fries. He said he and his wife would probably stay for the 5 p.m. parade and make a day of it.

Friends Tim Hanna, 13, and Justin Leggett, 14, of the Boonsboro area, were in a booth looking over some fancy pool cues. Leggett said his parents come every year to look at the crafts. Tim, who had bought a knife, said his grandfather lives on a farm and has a booth at the show.

Susan Petty, of Smithsburg, and her daughter Cassie, 9, went from booth to booth. Both said they liked the crafts. "I like the animal crafts," Cassie said.

Other families sat in the shade near the refreshment stands, eating and taking a break from the stifling heat. Six-month-old Faith Karavias stayed cool in the arms of her mother, who sat on the grass under a maple tree.

Nearby, Garrett Vitucci was anything but cool. The 13-year-old Smithsburg resident was stirring huge kettles of bean soup and Leopard stew under a baking sun, to benefit the Smithsburg Athletic Boosters. "I'm helping out my dad," he said.

The Steam & Craft Show continues today from noon to 6 p.m.

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