Machines let off steam at Smithsburg show

September 27, 2008|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

SMITHSBURG -- Machines that went "chug chug chug" were welcome in Smithsburg on Saturday.

It was time for the town's annual Steam Engine and Craft Show, an event where the smells of funnel cakes and sawdust compete.

Kevin Rice of Cascade brought a steam traction engine he rebuilt, a 1915 threshing machine produced by J.J. Case of Racine, Wis.

Rice, a 1981 Smithsburg High School graduate, said he picked up the machine in Wisconsin and spent about two years working on it.


He said he likes displaying it and seeing how people react, especially children who never have seen anything like it.

The steam traction engine was rated at 65 horsepower when it was built, but the modern-day equivalent is about 120 horsepower, Rice said.

Carl Lawson of Mercersburg, Pa., stood atop his father's 1921 Peerless steam engine, oiling some of its parts.

He said the 50-horsepower machine -- which his father, Eugene, acquired in 1976 -- would have been used for plowing, sawing lumber or threshing wheat.

"My grandfather had one just like this," Carl Lawson said.

On a day of on-again, off-again rain, the festival attracted a smaller crowd than usual, a few observers said.

But the old standards were there, including crafts, jewelry and food.

Various types of purple Smithsburg gear were sold to support the school system.

Woodcutting demonstrations went on as planned, despite the drizzle.

At the end of the afternoon, many large machines and tractors lined up along East School Lane, then joined school bands and firetrucks for a parade up Main Street.

If you go

What: Smithsburg Steam Engine & Craft Show

When: Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Where: Smithsburg Volunteer Fire Company fire hall grounds

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