Liechty, Berne, Indiana 46711
By far the most successful antique engine, tractor show in its nine-year history was held at the Jay County Fairgrounds at Portland, Indiana on August 23,24,25. This was based on both the number of entries and the attendance.
According to officials of the Tri-State Gas Engine and Tractor Association, Inc., there were a total of 1,125 gas engines, 173 tractors and five steam engines on display and working to whet the interest of the estimated 20,000 - 25,000 persons attending the three-day event. This is in contrast to the first such show where records reveal only 35 gas engines, two steam engines and five tractors were entered. The first show attracted 500 persons.
In all, officers said, 'There were over two million dollars worth of antique equipment for the public to view in our 1975 show.'
Attracting, in addition to the quaint machinery were Ted Yoder's cider and apple butter activities, Charles Burkhart's old time saw mill, along with other fascinating operations by others including broom making, caning, candle-making and weaving.
The large display of arts and crafts in the museum located on the fair grounds was a busy place attracting hundreds of admirers.
Antique machinery buffs attended from Michigan, Indiana and Ohio. All were intrigued by the huffing and puffing of antique steam engines, gas engines, threshing, log sawing and the wide variety of exhibits crowding the grounds. A miniature fair ground complete with ferris wheel, merry-go-round and all driven by a mini-steam engine, was displayed by Mr. and Mrs. Albert Hall and got its full share of attention.
'The show far exceeded my expectations,' said president Woody Turner of Portland with full-hearted agreement by fellow officers.
Activities opened Friday noon and concluded in the evening when a capacity crowd attended a banjo contest emceed by Sam Deven-cent, WOWO radio station, Fort Wayne.
On Saturday, the show opened in the morning and was featured by an exciting antique show sale with at least 100 dealers from three states participating. Deven-cent served as emcee of the old fiddler's contest. Trophies were awarded to Shelby Eicher, Waseon, O., first; Francis Geels, Decatur, Ind., second, and Dillard Armstrong, Bryant, third.
Approximately 1,000 persons attended the worship service Sunday morning with the Rev. L. J. Mote, Troy, O., delivering the message.
Food stands were plentiful to cater to the hungry throngs. They were in charge of the Rosary Society of the Catholic church, Portland.
The weather was ideal although a bit on the warn side. Those in charge of parking, particularly on Sunday, were hard pressed for enough space to park all the cars. However, they did an excellent job both at the entrance gate in charge of Fred Mayhew and by the men assigned to the exits.
The Jay County Sheriff's department and the Portland City Police department reported only a few minor incidents and the First Aid crew with an ambulance readied for emergencies, in charge of Don Donahue, had very little business, it was said.
Our president of the Club, Woody Turner
Shows the Mini-Fairground and the picture
The sawmill operation which attracts large crowds.
Apple Butter King - Ted Yoder of Linn Grove, Indiana.
Because of the unprecedented crowds the Fair Board officers decided to move the stage housed in the H-H building to the race track to accommodate the Friday and Saturday entertainment crowds. They nearly wished they had not thought of it. Jim Kelley was enlisted to pull the stage out with his Case tractor. Barely out of the building and kerbang, the whole thing went down. However, with might and main, they finally succeeded in dragging it to the race track only to learn that it was not in the right place - so it was moved again - this time without incident, making true: 'All's well that ends well.'
A sign 'Smile Awhile' at one of the displays evoked some chuckles. In bold lettering it said - 'It's too bad that the people who really know how to run the country, are too busy running gas engines, steam engines, sawmills and cooking apple butter.'
'Our 1975 antique engine and tractor show was a financial success too,' according to prexy Wood Turner. He continued, 'Our show started in a small way as indicated in an earlier paragraph, but each year sees more pieces of machinery, more activities and more people, noting that in 1968 there were 400 tractors and engines while in 1974 there were over 800 on display. This year we had a total of 1,303, and our plans for 1976 are even bigger and better,' he concluded.
Some shots from the Auction at Ritzman's; Anna Mae Branyan [of the magazines] with the sign she purchased for editor, Gerald Lestz, under his authority - this was one of the paintings of John Kauffman -he had done this for Elmer many years ago when the home office was in Port Royal and it has that address painted on it. This is the sign that Elmer carried all over the country and used when he set up his stand at the Reunions.
Pictures by Kelt Branyan, 124 Altoona Ave., Enola, Pa. AND Michael Gaffney, 438 2nd Street, West Fairview, Pa.