7543 Delisle-Forman Road, Arcanum, Ohio 45304
While George Bahre of Coulterville, Illinois look over the 80 HP Case with dual wheels, Fred Nolan of Arcola takes a break in front of the 25/85 Nichols & Shepard at the Douglas County Historical Steam Festival at Arcola, Illinois.
A new addition arriving at the Douglas County show in the fall of 1984: Fred Nolan unloads the 1916 Canadian Special Minneapolis with 30' rear drivers and 14' wide front wheels. Engine #7720, 28 HP.
As I write this, I want everyone to understand that I am not picking on any certain show or any certain individual and this is intended to help shed some light on planning and running steam shows.
I attend several show a year, and I also display equipment at some of these show. At present, I am on the Board of Directors on one organization and have been on the board of a few of these shows. So, on with the story.
1. My first point is that there is not enough activity
with the equipment. There ought to be more wheat to thresh and logs
to saw. The public wants to see some action with the equipment as
it was intended to be used. Not sitting around making smoke!
2. Putting large (25-30 HP) engines and large gas tractors on 22'24' threshers this is a poor representation of how it used to be done.
3. Hauling in machinery that doesn't run, or the owner doesn't want to use, is poor management on the Boards part. The answer to that old excuse, 'I don't want to get it dirty 'leave it home in the barn so it doesn't get dirty! I have been to shows where steam engines and tractors have never moved throughout the whole show. To me, that is inexcusable.
4. Organizations paying to haul in large numbers of duplicates, be it steam or gas, is wasteful. Haul in something unusual from a longer distance instead.
5. Using the same engine or tractor on the thresher or sawmill all day long when there are other engines and tractors available belting up is part of the show, unless it takes the operator 30 minutes to belt up then that is another story.
6. Unnecessary announcements, and jibberish, over the P.A. system, and very loud P.A. systems are annoying to public and showmen alike.
7. Supply ample shade or shelter from the hot sun for the older folks to rest and watch the activities from, so their stay is enjoyable. They will appreciate it.
8. Don't let your show get too big or carnival like. Weed out kiddie rides (ferris wheels, merry go-rounds), putt-putt golf and the like. These are not steam and gas show related. I have also found, in my experience, the bigger the show the less harmony among members.
I hope I have helped shed some light on the problems of current steam shows and having attended shows for the past 25 years, these are some of the observance I have made.