In celebration of the Oil Region’s industrial past, the Pioneer Steam and Gas Engine Society of Northwest Pennsylvania is hosting its 52nd annual summer show in Saegertown this weekend. The three day festival will have antique tractors on display, according to Society Secretary Judy Dengler, who helped coordinate the event for the eighth straight year.
“There’s something here for everyone,” Dengler said. “Every year, we have plenty of die-hard tractor pullers show up, and they love it. I think the attraction comes from seeing the way things used to be. It sort of takes you back to a simpler time.”
The society has been holding an exhibition of regional gas and steam engines, along with other forms of automation, since 1967. Dengler said this year, board members wanted to place more emphasis on turn of the century innovations that helped shape the region. A blacksmith shop, rock crusher, sawmill, construction equipment, antique cars and trucks, steam engines, steam boiler room and gas station will all be on display this year, she said.
According to Dengler, the antique tractor exhibits have remained the most popular since she and her husband first began attending the summer showcase more than 20 years ago. This year’s featured antique tractors are Oliver and Cockshutt, and Galloway gas engines. Dengler said that all kinds of tractors pre-1960 are welcomed to be featured.
“We get over 100 submissions every year for this,” she said. “I credit it to the area’s strong agricultural background. A lot of people bring in their father’s or their grandfather’s tractor to be displayed. I think it’s a nice way of honoring them and keeping a piece of family history alive.”
Gary Gastemire is in charge of coordinating the antique tractor shows. Gastemire has been involved with the engine society for nearly three decades, and said he looks forward to ensuring they’re ready for display.
“I love taking care of the tractors,” Gastemire said. “It brings me great joy to be involved with this every year. Anyone can participate and show off their hard work.”
The antique tractor pulls are on Saturday at 2 p.m., and on Sunday, at 1:30 p.m. Gastemire said you have to be a member of the engine society in order to participate in the tractor pull, but anyone can bring their tractor to be displayed. He can be reached at (814) 440-8688.
Agricultural demonstrations will take place on Saturday, at 11 a.m. and 3 p.m., and on Sunday morning, at 11. Daily parades will commence each day at 12:30 p.m., and food vendors will be set up all weekend around the show.
Dengler said that musical acts will perform on the barn stage each day as well. On Friday, Double Vision plays from 1 to 3 p.m.; Country Blue from 4 to 6; and Sound Witness from 7 to 9. On Saturday, Midnight Fire will take the stage from 1 to 3 p.m.; Sierra from 4 to 6; and Loose Change Band from 7 to 9. Dan Schall will lead a Christian music service on Sunday, at 9 a.m.
Based off previous years’ ticket sales, Dengler said she expects about 4,000 spectators to come out for the showcase.
“This started really humbly with only a handful of guys interested in area agriculture, and has now grown into a group of more than 1,000 members,” she said. “I’m proud to be involved with such a great organization and to help put on this event every year.”
The show grounds are located at 16601 State Highway 198, Saegertown. There is a fee to attend the weekend show and to camp out at the grounds. Exhibitors and children under 12 get in for free, and senior citizens receive a discount on Friday. Dengler can be reached, at (814) 440-8688, for any additional details about the summer showcase.
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