Box 33, Strum Wisconsin 54770
Perfect weather marked the 6th annual steam observance held here in the hill country of Western Wisconsin last Aug. 8-10.
At least a thousand people milled around the grounds on Friday, watching the setting up, initial firing and running of equipment. Five times that many entered the 18 acre show ground area on Saturday when the program ran continuously with special events interspersed. J.I. Case company was well represented, Louie Slabik, Merle McCart, Lyal Hardesty and Alfred Gunderson had products of the Racine manufacturer. Mort Moe and Geo Loomis had engines of the Great Minneapolis Line, Loomis also brought an Advance Rumely. Harold Churchill of Elmwood ran a double simple Rumely and a small upright, with his two grandsons as assistants. Tom Bible and Wilbur Skaar presented a fine looking Reeves to appreciative steam buffs. It ran as well as it appeared.
The Strum Club owns an upright for fuel purposes and the Beef River Flyer, a 19 gauge steam train. The latter ran continually all three days, pulling 4 cars with 32 passengers each trip.
Missing this year was 'Steam Engine Joe' Rynda and his wooden-wheeled Aultman-Taylor. A truckers miscalculation deprived the gathering of this feature, Joe however made the event and rode in the parade.
It has been customary to offer an outdoor festival church service at the Strum show. A perfectly still clear Sunday morning greeted nearly 1500 who filled the stands to overflowing before 9:15. Pastor Luther Monson conducted the worship.
The steam show opened at 11 A.M. and continued into the noon hour. Incoming crowds had begun assembling along the parade route long before the starting time of 1:30; and when bombs and steam whistles announced the beginning of the festival grand parade, viewers were massed 20 deep at some points.
The usual festival theme of 'A Century of Change' was supported by Loyalty and Patriotism this year, featuring Army and Navy bands plus a memorial unit of over 100 men. Sixty of this last group wore authentic uniforms, carried authentic arms and flags of every major war in which the U.S. has been engaged.
Forty-two servicemen carried state flags of as many states, a very colorful pageantry. Steam engines and agricultural equipment some portraying the change over the last century concluded this part of the program. (25-30,000 in attendance)
The Strum club has never charged an admission fee at their show. We, however, do control all concessions, some of which bring substantial monetary returns. This policy demands good administration as can be exemplified by food sales alone; over 320 ladies worked in five hour shifts handling this end of the services provided. As the village of Strum has only 750 residents one can readily appreciate the tremendous support from the rural folk who take a great interest in the steam show.
During the event nearly three thousand copies of the 1969 program booklet moved into eager hands. The 48 page phamphlet has nearly 40 pictures and articles of interest, among them some very unusual photos. It will be mailed anywhere postpaid for 50 cents.
Plans are underway for the 1970 show with a special effort to make it better in every way.