Spokane Interstate FAIR

Ian Swan, age 3 and the youngest dues'

Ian Swan, age 3 and the youngest dues.

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Box 11222, Spokane, WA 99211

Ian Swan, age 3 and the youngest dues paying member of Spokane's Indl and Empire Steam and Gas Buffs, holds grand-dad John's first prize plaque for the latter's entry in 1 HP and under engines at the recent Fair. Swan's wee scott is at Ian's left on a trailer load of old iron owned by Bob and Darlene Mueller. In the background is more of the show.

A few years ago the long-established Spokane Interstate Fair, in recognition of growing interest in old time engines, railway items, etc., entered into an arrangement with the Inland Empire Steam and Gas Buffs and other historical societies whereby fair goers could view restoration efforts first hand. This plan in a few short years has grown so that a permanent area is now reserved for the club's exhibits.

Operations (all steam or gas powered) include threshing, baling, flour making, ice cream freezing, separate drag sawing and wood buzzing. An outdoor kitchen in turn of the century motif provides a gathering place with its wood fired range. The kitchen is completely controlled by club ladies whose sales of flour and related items add to the upkeep. Mementos, programs, memberships etc. along with photos and other trivia are offered. An old time tool shed and blacksmith shop round out the general old time atmosphere.

Whether Andy Goertsma decides to put a fire in his steam kettle within the next few minutes is a moot question. With the water glass at low tide and no fuel in sight it appears to be negative. However, a few sticks of kindling alongside the rear truck seems to indicate Andy might have had a thought along that line then cooled off. Handy Andy's exhibits are always tip-top. An old retired Great Northern Railway baggage and mail car forms the backdrop

It's a clear, warm day in Spokane in early September but yesterday was a different story as a torrential down-pour slogged the open-day. No doubt the cause of the grim look on the face of Donnie Wolfe, who with other newer members, took on the all night job of drying mags, checking wiring and generally drying out the machines. Donnie is probably heading toward the cook-shack to catch a snooze. In back are a trio of tractors from Clarence Harch's Poverty Flats.

Off in the large yard is the popping and banging of the old iron joined by the resonant booms of the large oil engines. With no limit as to size or quantity the show draws fans from miles around and features machines from the little fractional gassers to a real big boy... a 110 HP Case traction engine. Owned by Joe and Dale Richardson, it was trucked some 150 miles to the show from its base at Orofino, Idaho. A smaller traction engine owned by William Schmidt of Spokane and the big Case were busy from opening to close giving free rides around the yards. In addition a large display of old outboard engines, drag saws, generators and a Stanley Steamer kept the crowd's interest.

Yet, this is not a large show in comparison with those well established spreads of the east and mid west. But it's 'on a roll' and the welcome mat is always out at Spokane, Washington and more especially at 'Fair Time' when the real fun begins. (1984 Fair dates are September 8-16.)