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Ruritan steam and gas show is event for Mercersburg community

September 17, 2006|by KATE S. ALEXANDER

MERCERSBURG, PA. - Organizers of the 20th annual Two Top Ruritan Steam and Gas Show say the three-day event is about working for the community.

In the words of Two Top Ruritan Club President Ralph Daugherty, the club's 23 members "work hard for free to make money, then give it away to the needy in the community."

Like most Ruritan clubs, the Two Top charter is a fundraising organization. The annual Steam and Gas show is the highlight for the small club, but Daugherty admitted he could not recall how much the club raised with the event last year.

An estimated 10,000 patrons will make their way south of Mercersburg to the grounds of the Two Top Ruritan this weekend for the Steam and Gas Show, Daugherty said. He also estimated that more than 200 antique tractors will leave deep gashes in the mud, and 147 vendors will entice shoppers with fresh food and handmade wares.

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Between food, a flea market and farm equipment, Richard Martin, chairman of the Steam and Gas Show, said the show has something for everyone.

For the men, each day features a different truck or tractor pull, with a truck pull Friday, a farm stock tractor pull Saturday and a lawn mower pull today.

Brian Yeager, announcer for the truck and tractor pulls, believes the pulls draw people to the Steam and Gas Show.

"People come from as far as 300 miles away for this thing," Yeager said.

"Actually, a man called me from Northern Ireland to say he was coming," Martin said.

Martin said that while the men enjoy the display of muscle-caked-in-mud, the women enjoy browsing the wide variety of items for sale at the flea market and craft show.

"If you name it, you can find it here," said Sam Bricker, head of the flea market committee for the club. Winding a John Deere Gator among tents of tools, T-shirts, and toys, Daugherty agreed, saying, "I guess if you don't find it here, you don't need it."

While visitors are fed and entertained, Daugherty said the event's underlying purpose is to show the farming techniques of yesteryear by displaying and demonstrating antique farm equipment.

This year's event highlighted farming's past, with two live farming demonstrations and Allis-Chalmers as the featured tractor manufacturer.

Today's events include the lawn mower pull, the antique tractor display, antique farm equipment demonstrations, a church service and music by Masters Four Quartet.

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