The Ontario Steam and Antique Preservers Association held their 3rd annual show in Milton, Ontario, over Labour Day weekend when an estimated 27,000 jammed into the Milton Fairgrounds to make it a 'Fantastic' success.
From Friday morning until Monday night, the Association members presented a gala showing of steam engines, gas tractors, small gas engines, antique equipment, threshing and other farm demonstrations and machinery that thrilled the thousands of visitors from all over Canada and the United States.
Monday's crowd, estimated at 14,000, was the largest crowd ever seen in Milton at any one time in the town's 106-year-old history. 'This is terrific... fantastic,' said the president, Gordon Smith of Orillia. 'We never expected such a response. If this keeps up, ours will be the largest steam show in Canada'. He issued an invitation to all the visitors to rejoin the Association for another bigger and better show on the same holiday weekend, next year.
There were 30 traction steam engines; 35 antique tractors; 40 gas engines; 56 vintage cars and trucks; and many miscellaneous pieces of farm equipment, too numerous to mention, buildings full of models, and antiques of all kinds.
Milton Chamber of commerce cooperated in publicizing this year's Reunion with a gala week long Old-Fashioned Days celebration throughout the town. Friday started out with a parade around the track atone o'clock of a large variety of machinery, followed by a full program of threshing, log sawing, hammer mill, prony brake, baker fan, and many other demonstrations put on by the huge steam monsters and other equipment. The 7 P.M. parade through the town was followed by an Old-Tyme dance on the street with many of the local residents in old fashioned costume.
Saturday started off with a bang when about 9 A.M. the people started flocking in and by night there was an estimated crowd of 12,000 on the grounds. This day was full of activity, machines always putting on demonstrations in front of the grandstand, one large parade through the town at 12:30, lead by an antique car, owned by Fred Thompson, and he had as passengers Hon. Wm. Stewart, minister of Agriculture, and his wife. After the mammoth parade the Show was officially opened by the minister, assisted by President Gordon Smith, Mayor Syd Childs, of Milton and Adrienne Nurse of Ash grove, Halton's Dairy Princess.
'This is one of the greatest shows I have ever seen' was a comment made by Hon. W. A. Stewart, in his opening of the show address. Following their official duties the special guests were invited to drive off on steam engines provided by Association members. Once again the Minister of Agriculture proved his prowess as he pulled the right levers and got Dave Rogers' big George White rolling down the track.
Much gaiety was added to the show by the music from a band organ operated by a steam engine, which attracted all ages, thanks to Captain John Lennard of St. Catherines. Another attraction which the 17,000 sitting on the grandstand really enjoyed was Antique car experts staged a demonstration on how to assemble a Model T Ford. They put it together and drove it away in less than eight minutes.
To climax a full day of excitement the Milton Chamber of Commerce sponsored a program and old time dance in the Arena with Doc Williams and his Border riders, which was much enjoyed by over 14,000 fans.
Monday was another beautiful day and by noon the grounds were packed with an estimated crowd of 14,000 people, who were all smiling and a bit dusty too. There were two mammoth parades, along with every machine working to keep the crowd entertained. One late arrival was a 27ton English plowing engine owned by Charles Mathews of Lang staff. Farmers used to place one of these engines at each end of the field and drag a ten far row plow across the field from one machine to the other, using cables on winches located below the boilers. Mr. Mathews also exhibited the largest steam engine of the show a 115 HP 14 on Sawyer-Massey. Among the other steamers on display was a horse drawn 1885 Norsworthy.
Heather Devlin, of Hull had no competition this year and won the Allan Byers trophy when she was the only competitor. Jim Heslop of Hagersville won the Hugh Clark trophy with his unusual McTaggart tractor; Vince & Elgin Riddell received the Johnson & Holt trophy for the best restoration job on their 16 HP Waterloo engine.
Honorable mentions were given to a Case entered by Bernard Porter of Woodstock and a Sawyer-Massey jointly owned by Allan Byers and Arnold McDuffe of Milton.
Robert Stevenson of Newcastle-Upon-Tyne, England won recognition for coming the farthest distance. About 30 members of the New York Steam Association were guests at the show, and other steam enthusiasts were present from the Blyth and Petrollia areas.