June 27, 1976 dawned bright and clear on the DeKalb County Fairgrounds at Sandwich, Illinois as final preparation was made for the 5th annual All Day Gas Engine and Antique Car show sponsored by EDEC of Sandwich and the Silversprings Chapter of the AACA.
Many members brought engines on Saturday afternoon and then began setting things up for the next day's show. Besides our own members we had a few other collectors come in late Saturday afternoon with a couple of them coming from as far away as Iowa. All together we had nearly 50 engines on Saturday alone.
And they started coming in early Sunday morning until by about the middle of the afternoon we had an estimated 325 engines in attendance. Many of us were kept busy extending welcomes and extending the roped off areas to accommodate the flood of engines.
The crowds were fantastic this year and kept pouring in even after many of the engine owners had loaded up and gone. To handle all cars going in and looking for parking space is a very large task in itself so this year we tried something different. We had a local 4-H Club come in and park cars. This took an awful burden off our club members and added to the 4-H Club's treasury, too. So a special thanks to the Helmar 4-H Club for their help.
The antique cars made a fine showing for themselves with an estimated 140 cars. Most were meticulously restored including some of the more rare cars still rolling. Thanks should go to these people for their help.
Featured this year, (more or less in going with the Bicentennial) was the Sandwich engine. We had these gathered together and roped off as our honor engine. Thanks to the wonderful turnout, we had at least one engine of every size, except the 10 HP, including several different models of the Chanticleer and Jacob Haish, forerunners of the Sandwich. As in the past we have given a china plate and a brass show plaque with a featured engine. This year we added a soup or coffee mug. The feature engine this year was the Chanticleer.
It was good to see many familiar faces from past shows and many new faces that we hope will become regulars. I'd like to dispel a disquieting rumor heard at another show this summer past. You do not have to own a Sandwich engine to attend our show. Everyone is welcome. Speaking of familiar faces, in last year's write-up, (May-June, G.E.M.) there was pictured a man with a big smile standing in front of a Chanticleer. He was back again this year with a beautiful Fairbanks Morse 3 HP vertical. Thanks to the good sign work we finally got his name. Still don't know where he is from.
As in the past we had a flea market in conjunction with our show. Many engine and auto parts were bought and sold plus all the other merchandise associated with flea markets. We thank them for their cooperation.
Next year's show has been tentatively set again for the last Sunday of June, however, nothing definite has been set. With about 6 months left we still have plenty of time for debate. We already have several propositions for improvement for next year's show. As always we will be trying to improve eating facilities to enable us to handle the hungry exhibitors and spectators alike. Also we hope to have consolidated the engine show area toward a more efficient use of space and shade to handle the increasing number of exhibitors, plus other ideas yet to be expounded.
We as a club would like to express our appreciation to all who have helped toward the success of our past shows and we hope the future shows will bring more satisfaction and pleasure in years to come. The cooperation between everyone is unbelievable. Hope to see you all next year.
Also, I'm sure I speak for the entire club when I say thanks for a great magazine. When we get them, we can hardly put them down-so keep them G.E.M. coming!
I thought I would put the following poem in to share with all the gas engine buffs that might be interested:
What's that contraption over there you say,
The source of power from grandpa's day.
Putt, putt, pop, if they could only speak,
They'd tell a tale that's quite unique.
One lungers we've heard them proudly called,
They did the work before electricity was installed.
Pumping water and baling hay,
Washing wash on laundry day.
Mixing mixes and grinding feed,
These engines took care of every need.
Two flywheels, piston and water hopper,
You could lug her down but you couldn't stop her.
Belts and pulleys, hit and miss,
They send us back in nostalgic bliss.
From days gone by like phantoms return,
In rafts of smoke from the gas they burn.
The Economys, John Deeres, red, green, even blue,
McCormick, Sandwich; yes dear, Maytags, too.
Chanticleer, Monitor, to mention two more,
Water-cooled, air-cooled; they're like a door,
Or a bridge if you like, to the days gone by,
Gone but still here like mom's apple pie.
Their fascination and splendor are things to behold,
These crazy contraptions from days of old.
But listen as, BANG, there goes one or two,
They're a beautiful sight, and their music is too.
But those days have left us so that music you know,
Comes from the Early Day Engine Show.
The show takes us back to that yesteryear,
with those shelters, pumpjacks and engines so dear.
So long live the engines and engine shows, too.
They're a part of our heritage, like Red, White, and Blue.
-A collaboration of a couple of members of the EDEC of Sandwich, Illinois