The Volunteers Make the Show

Managed chaos feeds 7,000 people'

Managed chaos feeds 7,000 people during the Steam-O-Rama four-day run.

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850 S. Pleasant Ave. Dallastowm, Pennsylvania I7313-9601

The 36th annual Early American Steam Engine and Old Equipment Society Steam-O-Rama, near Windsor, Pennsylvania, was a resounding success September 30, October 1, 2, and 3, 1993, not because of the tractors or gas engines on display, not because of the horse pulls and pedal tractor pulls or mule rides, not because of the flea market, the antique cars and trucks, or even the excellent weather.

The success was there because of the people who volunteer untold hours of time throughout the year in planning, preparation, and fund raising. Those who are hauling, cooking, mowing, painting, coaxing, boasting, and calling all year long. Then, as the show unfolds, they are demonstrating, directing, placing, more cooking, serving, and always smiling. They deal with blown fuses, tripped breakers, fuel spills, water shortages, mud puddles, sewage, garbage, more mud, safety problems, parking problems, vendor problems and mud problems. They are up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the show grounds before the crowd and follow the last car out at midnight, hoping for sunshine and a good crowd for the next day.

An organization may have 500, 800, or 1,000 members, but the volunteers, usually 10% or less of the membership, carry the load and deserve the credit. The group greatly appreciates the exhibitors and vendors who draw the crowd and keep them interested, but if the volunteers weren't there to mow the grounds, raise the funds to pay for the land and taxes, paint and repair the buildings and provide refreshments for all, it would not be much of a show.

My particular venue is the kitchen, and as we all know, a crowd travels on its stomach. If they are fed well and reasonably they will stay satisfied and return again and again. Our kitchen crew is mostly female during the planning and preparation weeks before the show, but when the gates open and the crowd clamors to be fed, the male population of the kitchen raises dramatically.

All year long our faithful volunteers are out for each activity. It takes many men to binder the wagon loads of wheat in the hot July sun to be stored for the Steam-O-Rama and for our annual display at the York Interstate Fair. The Fair display itself takes about 2700 hours of volunteer time. A crew of about 15 travels the area demonstrating apple butter making and selling the finished product to benefit our own organization and others. The Ladies Auxiliary serves public sales by request and, of course, refreshments for the Steam-O-Rama.

Our show raffle tractor is towed to a different location almost every weekend from May to September. Volunteers run the ticket stand and hand out brochures to anyone interested.

Being a volunteer is not without sacrifices. Others get to drive in or watch the parade, but volunteers have to plan and direct it. Others get to shop in the flea market, but the volunteers have to place the vendors and keep them happy. Others get to sit down and eat supper, but volunteers get to stand and eat with one hand while stirring soup or apple butter with the other hand. Others get to stand upwind and watch while volunteers get covered with straw and chaff. And others get to lull in the shade under cover while volunteers are out in the hot sun, cold rain or wind, doing all the little and big things that need to be done.

Basically, we all do it for the fun and camaraderie, for friends and loved ones, for Grandpa or the kids, but not for the glory, the thanks, or the money.

All our volunteers are hard at work for the 1994 Steam-O-Rama. We will be featuring Pennsylvania manufactured gas engines. If you have one, or are interested in seeing what is out there, you are invited to attend September 29, 30, and October 1 and 2, 1994. You can be sure our volunteer crew will be working all year to help to make each show as safe and entertaining as possible. Our thanks to all of them!