29th annual Essex Steam & Gas Engine Show gives blast from the past


By Ron Giofu


Essex County has had a strong agricultural tradition and the public was reminded of that over the past weekend at Co-An Park.

Steam&Gas Engine Show1 Steam&Gas Engine Show3The Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Show was presented last Friday, Saturday and Sunday in McGregor with Allis-Chalmers tractors being the focus of the 29th annual event. Stationary and moving steam engines, the Carl Smith Sawmill, a threshing machine owned by Morris Kurzuk and numerous other antique farming machinery and vehicles were fired up and on display at Co-An Park as people of all ages got a chance to look back at the history of local agriculture.

Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Club president Evelyn Baker said the show is a way to show people what their grandparents and great-grandparents had to do to farm.

“A lot of kids don’t understand what this stuff is,” said Baker. “They have to be told this is what we ploughed with and this is how we farmed.”

“We had a great parade (Saturday),” she added.

Other events included pie and bake sales, a pancake breakfast, tractor and lawn tractor pulls.

Donna Hansen, a volunteer with the museum, said they stay open for tours other days of the month as well, as they have tours from 10 a.m.-3 p.m. at the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Club every Saturday from Victoria Day weekend through Labour Day weekend.

Kurzuk, vice-president of the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Club, liked what he saw in terms of layout.

“I think this is the nicest set-up we’ve ever had,” he said.

Kurzuk noted when the club moved to Co-An Park in 1997, it was a bare plot of land. Now, it features barns, trails and amenities for the club.

“The weather is really co-operating with us,” he added.

Saturday morning’s parade featured several local politicians including Essex MP Jeff Watson and Essex MPP Taras Natyshak with the Town of Essex being the lone municipal representation. Essex Mayor Ron McDermott credited the volunteers for making events such as the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Show happen while his deputy mayor, Richard Meloche, was proud the event was from his home area of McGregor.

“I am very proud as a person who grew up in the McGregor area that we have the Essex County Steam and Gas Engine Show in McGregor,” said Meloche.

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