Smithsburg show celebrates three decades

September 23, 2004|by KATE COLEMAN

SMITHSBURG - Mike Rohrer graduated from Smithsburg High School in 1973.

In some ways, he's never left.

Rohrer is chairman of the 30th annual Smithsburg Steam Engine & Craft Show. Rohrer and other loyal members of the Athletic Boosters Club of Smithsburg High School have been involved since the beginning.

This year's installation of the community event will open at 9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25. There will be arts and crafts vendors and flea market displays - 120 all together.

Three to five big steam traction engines will be at the show grounds - examples of the machines with coal- or wood-fired burners that came to farming after horses and plows and before gas engines. There will be 200 gas and diesel engine tractors dating back to the "teens and early '20s" of the last century, and about 75 little gas engines - stationary units that were hooked up to power a variety of hardworking machines.


A parade featuring the middle and high school marching bands, local Scouts and any rubber-tired tractors that can travel the route through town will begin at 5 p.m.

The show benefits the athletic programs at Smithsburg High School and has raised more than $430,000 in three decades.

"We are very fortunate in this community," said Teresa Bachtell, athletic director at Smithsburg High. Festival proceeds have bought varsity team uniforms, paid for coaches' clinics and for students to attend summer leagues. Show committee funds recently purchased new football-soccer goal posts, Bachtell said.

Traditions that have endured since the first show will continue. The "world-famous" Leopard stew - named for the school's mascot - will be served. Stirring the secret recipe is a position of honor, and the school's coaches come out to support the effort. There's also a wide variety of festival fare to sample.

Student athletes sign up for two hours of duty at the weekend event. This year they'll be teamed with members of the teams they play on.

Their parents also pitch in to help out at the show, as well as before. Each student athlete is given two empty pie tins and enough apples - donated by local orchards - for two pies. Their parents provide the dough, sugar, cinnamon and love, Bachtell said.

There will be a steam-powered sawmill cutting logs, and fresh-cut cedar shingles will be branded and sold to serve as souvenirs of the weekend.

If you go ...

Thirtieth annual Smithsburg Steam Engine & Craft Show

9 a.m. Saturday, Sept. 25

Parade, which ends the day's activities, begins at 5 p.m.

10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Sunday, Sept. 26

Kids' pedal tractor pull, 2 p.m.

Smithsburg Fire Hall Grounds


For information, call 301-824-3593.

Directions: Take Md. 64 east from Hagerstown. Turn left on Md. 66. Turn left at traffic light at square. At bottom of hill, turn right into alley, East School Lane.

Parking is next to show grounds.

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