Mysterious Happening at Edaville Railroad

Marine Engine

This brand new calliope, finished one day before the meet by area resident and long time steam buff Joe Daru, serenades the crowd. Left, Ross Gould, marine engine restorer extraordinaire.

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559 Pleasant Street, So. Weymouth, Massachusetts 02190.

On the road and into a questionable weather report at best we all drove towards Edaville Railroad, our minds on vague rumors we had heard at other steam/gas shows. This Edaville Cranberry Harvest Festival Show would be a tad different. Something was in the air. What was going on down there in Massachusetts' Upper Cape Cod?

There were more early arrivals than usual on Friday. The field was set up earlier than usual. The number of out-of-state plates was higher than in the past. The perennial locals were buoyant, some looking as smug as cats full of 'canary au grautin.' Could the rumor be true ? Showtime Saturday, rain expected. Why all the mysterious grins?

Edaville's Cranberry Festival is a relatively old show, 1990 being its eleventh year. A two day show held deep in bog country at one of Upper Cape Cod's premier tourist spots, a narrow gauge steam railroad and museum complex that was started by Ellis D. Atwood, the founder of the Ocean Spray Cranberry brand name and all that it implies. Originally the five mile steam railroad was used to bring the bog workers to and from their planting, flooding, sanding, and harvesting tasks, and to transport the harvested cranberries to the onsite processing plant. As Mr. Atwood was a renowned railroad memorabilia collector, the museum 'sort of got started' with his acquisition of the narrow gauge rolling stock, equipment to maintain it, other railroad and steam memorabilia, early fire fighting equipment, model trains, even the later addition of a few amusement park items. Buildings were added to house the collection, and this grew from its humble beginnings to a fine permanent museum complex with many attractions designed especially for the youngsters. Mr. Atwood has passed on now, but the train whistle is still blown in his memory on each run of every scenic train ride around the heavily productive bog area.

Among those living within 100 miles, Edaville is best known for its Christmas light displays. Many of us now at the grandparent stage remember going to Edaville as children to view the wonder and magic of these displays. Edaville at Christmas, for many, is a family tradition. For us exhibitors, Edaville is also at its best at show time, with many tourists coming into the upper Cape area to also view Plymouth Rock, the Mayflower II, and Plymouth Plantation, all within ten miles of the Railroad.

Saturday came and went out early. It started to pour about three o'clock. Word got around: 'Let's all get together in the main festival tent at 8:30 tonight.' Most did, braving a real goose-drowning rain to do it.

And there it was! The formation of a brand new steam/gas club, to be based at Edaville Railroad. Officers were nominated, nominations accepted and voted on, and immediately a club meeting was held. Present were members and officers of other distant clubs, the Central Massachusetts and Connecticut Tobacco Valley clubs being among them. Charter memberships accepted the first night numbered 15.

Among other happenings during the meeting, the club's first two honorary life members-Paul Levasseur and Scott LaMontagne-were voted on and approved. These two hard working gentlemen had by themselves carried all necessary travail and heavy labors to run the last 10 years' engine meets, successful meets all. Of necessity, both were absent from the formative club meeting.

It was voted that we should begin negotiations with the Edaville management to have a spring show as well as the traditional Fall Harvest Show. In addition, newly elected director Dave Moore, who is also a Lion, volunteered to check the possibility of having a Lions Club 'pancake breakfast' at all of our future meets. Needless to say, he was voted food committee chairman by popular acclaim. Thanks, Dave.

Meeting broke up, still in the pouring rain. It was reported in the morning that the rubber mattresses of new club members Bob Long and Dave Amerault had turned into rubber boats, one with a leak, and the club secretary's camper was in the middle of a newly formed six inch deep by thirty foot diameter lake, requiring a chilly wade to get to bed.

Sunday dawned terrific, there couldn't have been any rain left up there! There was no trace of the deluge by 7:00 AM, as the Cape area soil drains quickly. A beautiful day and a record turnout for both exhibitor participation and museum admissions. One of Sunday's features has always been a tractor parade. This time, rather than just parading on the show field, tractors went through the museum complex it self, doing a wide circle among the tourists, many of them people who had never seen a real farm tractor before, never mind an antique. This writer thinks that this type of parade could become a new Edaville show tradition. Meanwhile, back at the exhibitor entrance, our hard working club officers had more than doubled club membership. How could we thank Scott and Paul again for this? Only by ourselves showing dedication and allegiance as they have to the success of the activities of our new club, the Cranberry Fly wheelers.