Many flowery compliments were being handed the enginemen at the close of the 9th annual Reunion of the Miami Valley Steam Threshers Association held at Mechanicsburg, Champaign County, Ohio, July 25, 26 and 27. The spot was Goshen Memorial Park, which was known in the early 1870's as the Central Ohio Fair Grounds and where our grandparents from the surrounding counties attended their reunions. The writer can almost picture some of the older pieces of equipment being exhibited this year as being new and brightly painted and displayed on this very spot during those years. An unusually rainy summer dampened the spirits of everyone up to and including the first day of the show and many of the farmers, instead of attending the reunion were trying to salvage their hay and grain.
The old race track at Goshen Park afforded a nice place for parades and other activities and the hillside adjoining the track made a natural amphitheatre for all to watch the events. By noon on Saturday the enginemen were all at their stations and at the signal everyone pulled the whistle cordsthe entire neighborhood knew then that the show was on. The Port Huron engine pulling the calliope led the parade. Naturally the record on the calliope was ''Beautiful Ohio'. Then followed about 13 other large engines including a Gaar Scott, Farquhar, Robison, Baker, Advance, Case Huber, Minneapolis, Frick, and some home-made engines. After these the smaller models were hurrying along and bringing up the rear was Bob Fielder's big ox team pulling the Conestoga wagon. The Hart Parr tractor and Advance Rumely oil engine was dodging here and there keeping everything at the spot where needed.
The boys gave their saw mill a good workout all during the show. The association purchased this mill during the past year and was completely overhauled by some of the officers and board members including Arthur Heiland, George Edinger, and Lawrence Bretz. It really looked like a new one.
Two very fine gentlemen from Mechanicsburg, Mr. Huffman and Mr. Plank, were able to get us wheat dry enough to thresh on Saturday and Sunday. As soon as the separator stopped Wm. Farmer's horse-power baler was on the job.
Farther down the track the drag saw was being powered by Roy Craig's weel trained oxen, the saw being owned by Mr. M. M. Yore of Bellefontaine. This saw was cutting lengths of butternut logs for making shingles.
This shingle mill owned by Mr. John Shoots of Bellefontaine and belted to the Frick engine was one of the most unusual exhibits on the grounds. Souvenir hunters picked up the shingles as soon as they dropped from the mill and several radio and television commentators mentioned this unique piece of machinery on their programs.
The large Baker fan was kept busy by various engines during the show and was quite a contrast to the little model fan that was being operated just beside it. The little model separator (Case) was doing a good job threshing the few stalks of wheat being fed into it. All the models were in tip-top shape and had a constant group of admirers from one end to the other.
On Saturday night movies were furnished by Mr. Humphreys and Mr. Hoffer in the little shelter house. A 50-50 dance was held in the large shelter house, the orchestra being furnished by the association.
The Methodist Church of Mechanics-burg brought their entire congregation to the park for church services and the guest threshermen went to church in their coveralls and shirtsleeves. It was a very impressive service in the shelter house and in the shade of the big oak trees. During the reunion the ladies of the Methodist Church had the dining room open at all hours.
There was plenty of activity all Sunday afternoon around the track, sawing, threshing and another engine parade. The Shawnee Antique Motor Club came in from Urbana, Springfield and Mechanicsburg with about 23 fine old cars to parade the grounds and the city.
Due to the extremely wet season some engines did not get to the show, including a Peerless, a Baker, and a Russell. But all in all we had the best attendance and best displays in our short history and wish to thank everyone who helped make the show a success. Mr. W. W. McCoy, when he learned the Miami Valley Steam Threshers were coming to his home town said, 'Your coming recalls thoughts of yesteryear. The lumbering engine with it's flapping belt and shrill whistle alerted the farmer, scared the horses and thrilled the kids. It's presence meant busy farmers, spirited teams, creaking wagons, goggles, bandana handkerchiefs, straw hats, water wagon, water jugs, good natured bantering, sweat and then the bounteous delicious, varied noon-day meal, proud, tired farmer's wives, neighborliness, cooperation and a job well done.'