11457 Bellbay Hwy RR Alpena, Michigan, 49707
Can we do it? Put on a show? Fred Bloom, Jim Geddert and Jim Wojda asked themselves after they had participated in the Bolton Centennial (1982) with their tractors, gas engines and sawmill.
For many years they had attended other shows with their equipment and now it was decided they should hold a show in this area of the state, the Northeast corner. Because there were no shows in this part of this state it would provide a chance for the younger people to see the old time machinery and the older people could relive the past.
Now they were ready to try it for themselves. The problems were solved one by one, the time and the place. Larry Dubey provided the place and the time was set for the second weekend of August.
Then the fun began! Flyers had to be printed and distributed, and exhibitors invited. Suffice to say this was accomplished and the show was held. There were eleven tractors, approximately 25 gas engines and old cars. We made enough money to have another show.
The main attraction was a 25-40 Rumely Oil Pull Tractor that had been sitting in the woods for thirteen years. Fred and Jim had it completely restored in five months.
After two shows the club was formally organized and called: The Alpena Gas Engine and Antique Tractor Club, which was later changed to: The Alpena Antique Tractor and Steam Engine Club. The club has 43 members and more ask to join each year.
Every year it gets bigger and better. Last year was the best, even though it seemed to be the week for the rain, the attendance was 2400. There was a lot of activity with something for everyone. The club threshed grain and baled the straw with a hay press, sawed logs with Zig's belt-powered mill, and made shingles that are branded with the year of the show and Alpena. There were many old time tractors and gas engines along with flea markets and food.
The field where the show is held has a natural amphitheatre. This gives us a dividing place between the noise of the engines and the music which is played both on Saturday and on Sunday.
Saturday is open to anyone who wishes to play and on Sunday local bands donate their time. We have a dance floor and the youngsters really get into the swing. After the show at night the floor is crowded and everyone has a good time. This amphitheater is excellent for the daily tractor parade. As each one passes the stand, the owner's name and the history of his machine is read over the microphone.
Donna Bloom makes the best bean soup in a big iron kettle hung over a fire pit, and Ken Lewis steams sweet corn with the steam engine from Jackson and boy, when they blow it in the morning, the whistle surely wakes up the campers! This has become a tradition along with the chicken dinners the Long Rapids Fire Department puts on. The club is a non-profit organization and each year it gives a donation to a service club.
The show this year will be held on August 12, 13, 14, at Alpena, Michigan. Don't miss the fun!