Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Show keeps Co-An Park busy


By Jonathan Martin


Co-An Park spent last weekend humming, popping and whistling.

Hundreds of pieces of vintage machinery rolled onto the shared space for exhibition in the 34th annual Steam and Gas Engine Show.

According to Gary Struhar, president of the Steam and Gas Engine Museum, the weekend is all about educating the public.

The Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Show took over Co-An Park in McGregor the weekend of Aug. 10-12.

“Our goal is to let people see how agricultural equipment has evolved over the past hundred years or so,” he said.  “They can even get hands-on with some of it.”

The event began with a parade of antique equipment rolling in from St. Clement’s Church.  It was more than double the size of last year’s, according to Struhar.

The equipment hailed from a variety of histories.  John Deere was the big name on-site, with tents dedicated entirely to the company’s products in honour of its hundredth anniversary.  Other brands weren’t left out in the field, though.

“Colours mean nothing in the real world,” Struhar said.  “But out in the farming business, they mean a lot.”

John Deere’s green dominated the showgrounds, but Massey-Harris’ red, Ford’s blue and Allis Chalmers’ orange also dotted the landscape.  Army green was there, too, brought in by the Southern Ontario Military Musters.  Of course, the colour of rust outdid them all.

Antique agricultural equipment was on exhibit as part of the Essex County Steam & Gas Engine Show.

Most of the equipment on-site wasn’t just there for show.  A lot of it had seen a lifetime of use on real farms, doing real hard work.  The weekend offered up demonstrations of that work.

Steam power got wood sawed, sweetcorn cooked and wheat threshed.  The younger attendees got to dig through some of that threshed wheat to find tokens they could redeem for prizes.

Massive, powerhouse tractors pulled heavy weights across a demonstration field in a show of strength, which was sanctioned by the Ontario Vintage Tractor Pullers Association.

Struhar said the weekend was a great success, on-par with the past few iterations of the event.

Gary Struhar, president of the Steam and Gas Engine Museum, demonstrates an antique wood cutter at the 34th annual Steam and Gas Engine Show.

Next year, he said, Massey Harris’ red will be in the spotlight.

“That’s my family’s colour,” he said.  “Out here, colours mean a lot.

To see our photos from the Aug. 10-12 event, check out our Facebook album.

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