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LaGrange lets off a little steam

LAGRANGE, IN -- The 4-H Fairgrounds in LaGrange, IN was full of all things farming during the weekend of August 10-12 as the Northeast Indiana Steam & Gas Association hosted their annual Antique Power Steam and Gas Show. This is their 36th year of having the popular event, which draws people from around the region and beyond.

Starting on Thursday, the schedule was similar for the following days with an opening ceremony, which included the playing of the National Anthem, raising the flag, and a welcome; demonstrations throughout the grounds; an arts and crafts building with vendors; a large flea market area; and displays of machines ranging in size, color and purpose.

The various demonstrations used a myriad of machines to thresh wheat, cut logs, make timber planks, plow, and churn ice cream. Several hit and miss engines were obviously in use as well as the steam engines and whistles which were cranked up as the noon bell during the weekend activities.

A presentation on the Great Race of 1908 at noon and a tractor parade in the evening were the additions to the Friday activities as well as a live music show after the parade. Saturday featured an antique tractor pull, another opportunity to see the tractors in the parade, the LaGrange Home Extension members presenting ‘make and take projects’, the Desert Road Band in the evening, and a show involving tractors, square dance calls, and silliness.

Lily Pearl’s Square Dancing Tractors of Rochester, IN twirled and do-si-doed their way around the area reserved for the show. The four ‘couples’ rode antique restored Farmall tractors with the ‘gals’ dressed up for the dance. Several square dance moves were converted to be appreciated by those riding tractors with an announcer calling the moves.

For those looking for parts and paraphernalia relating to various brands of tractors, the flea market area was the place to find needed and desired items, meet new people, and network into the antique tractor world. The booths ranged from hay wagons containing parts to a trailer holding a large inventory of manuals for a myriad of tractor and machine labels along with odds and ends of tools and equipment for the farms of yesteryear.

The main point of the show is to promote the use of antique power equipment with a featured brand. 2017 was the year of the Minneapolis-Moline tractors and machinery. That said, there was a rainbow of colors displayed in the tractor area with a wide range of years represented. While golf carts were a favored mode of transportation, garden tractors were also popular with some on display from the Northern IN Garden Tractor Club.

The annual Antique Power Steam and Gas Show will be held on August 9-11, 2018 with the feature tractor being the Massey-Harris/Massey-Ferguson.