Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Show celebrates 30th year

 

Steam Show1 Steam Show2 Steam Show3 Steam Show4 Steam Show5 Steam Show6By Ron Giofu

 

It was a milestone weekend for the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum as they held their 30th annual show for the public.

The three-day show was held at Co-An Park in McGregor with antique tractors, tractor pulls, a threshing machine, the Carl Smith sawmill and other items of agricultural heritage on display. There were also demonstrations of the seven large steam engines the museum has in its collection. A parade featuring many of the tractors that were displayed took place Saturday morning from St. Clement’s Church to Co-An Park.

Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum president Evelyn Baker said the show takes a lot of volunteer effort to put together.

“It’s a lot of work and a lot of preparation before it even begins,” said Baker. “We’re glad to see so many people take part.”

Baker noted the show and museum was at Heritage Village for the first 13 years before moving to Co-An Park in 1997.

“(Co-An Park) offered it to us for $1 per year and here we are,” said Baker. “We’re doing our 30th show already.”

Keeping the history of steam engines and agriculture alive is “very important,” she added.

Gerry Vincent, the museum’s past president, said the nearest museum that is similar to the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum is in Hamilton.

Vincent, one of the original members of the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Museum, believes it to be the largest of its kind in the province.

“To my knowledge, this is the largest steam engine museum in Ontario,” he said. “There are possibly larger collections, but they are not museums.”

Much of the museum’s engines and artifacts are donated, Vincent added, and they try and invite school groups to come and tour the museum. Tours can be arranged by appointment, he said, with the phone number to call being 519-726-0606.

There are 160 family memberships, he stated, although he added the club could use more volunteers.

“Each and every member of the club has two or three jobs,” he said.

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