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
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
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.