Oh, What A Show!

By Staff
1 / 2
Standing behind cake from the ground breaking ceremony, from left: Pat Ingalls, vice president; Lorrie Getman, secretary; John Krizan, treasurer; and Fred Krizan, president.
2 / 2
Overview of front exhibitor area at the new showgrounds.

Ingalls 64958 M-43 Highway Bangor, Michigan 49013

That was the general comment heard by weary workers who rubbed
sore feet and massaged tired muscles, as the last exhibitor drove
out of the new show grounds of the Van Buren Flywheelers Antique
Engine and Tractor Club, after their 12th annual show held last
September in South Haven, Michigan. V. B. F. had purchased the
parcel of land in late April and dedicated members had spent many
long hours all summer, preparing for the very first show there.

It was a big decision to make this purchase, and many members
didn’t think we would be able to be ready for a show by
September but really, there wasn’t much of a choice. The
alternative was to have no show. The land was undeveloped, but had
several things going for it level, sandy soil, a fair amount of
trees, and an unzoned town ship! A Building and Grounds Committee
was quickly formed and a plan was created. Of course, everyone had
their own ideas of what was needed the most, but the committee
worked together to develop a priority list.

First on the agenda was the planting of pine and autumn olive
trees that had been donated by a local nursery. The local Boy Scout
troop from Bangor was contacted for this job, and on a bright and
beautiful weekend in April, the scouts, with the help of a tractor
and tree planter (and parents of course!) planted a total of 3,400
trees in designated rows in what were to be the parking lot and
flea market areas. Soon afterwards, a portion of the gravel drive
way was put in with the help of local contractors.

Members, meanwhile, had been working hard to secure donations
from local businesses and a membership drive had been started
offering 10, 15 or Lifetime V. B. F. memberships with the monies
from this being put in the Building and Grounds Fund. Then in May,
a consignment auction was held which also raised money for the
development of the grounds. Response from area residents was
overwhelming. Not only had many brought items to be sold for
consignment, many items were donated entirely to the club.

As if this wasn’t keeping everyone busy enough, crews were
back on the land making roadways and what would soon be parking
areas for our exhibitors. Many of the nearby residents would often
stop by wondering what was being built. And even after being told,
most had to have explained what an antique engine and tractor show
was!

The ladies of the club held a garage sale, and with the money
earned from that, began planting flower gardens. They bought
gallons of paint to paint a donated ticket booth, old flywheels for
the gardens, donated trash barrels and donated picnic tables. The
men were soon joking that nothing was safe from the women’s
paint brushes!

Finally, there was enough money to start on an office building.
It was decided that we would have an official ground breaking
ceremony over the July 4th weekend and with a good portion of
workers already there, we could start on the office. The Lady
Flywheelers hurriedly planned the occasion, purchasing
refreshments, planning a schedule of events. They even painted a
donated plow the traditional gold in order to use it to break the
ground.

When the day finally came, the weather cooperated beautifully
and President Fred Krizan gave a welcome speech that included the
history of the club. After all of the officers and directors posed
for pictures, Director Larry Weniger started his old red
steel-wheeled International tractor, hooked on the gold plow and
cut the first furrow in the weed-covered, sandy soil as everyone
clapped and cheered! Then the work began.

Almost every weekend of the entire summer would find Flywheelers
camping at the land as they worked to install water lines,
electrical service, finish the office building, lay out roadways
and parking areas. A loading ramp was built, a water tank for the
steamers installed on cement that was poured; brush was clipped and
burned; weeds were mowed and before we knew it was SHOW TIME!

Everyone crossed their fingers and hoped that the move would not
hurt the show too badly. No one was quite sure what the response
would be, but we were soon to find out! The campers began to roll
in, proudly pulling display after display. Despite the rain on
Thursday, it looked like we would have a fairly good show, as a
good portion of the grounds filled up. Then came Friday. Motor
homes after pickup trucks after RVs pulled in long after darkness.
Workers began to feel the pressure as Saturday came, and they raced
around to park vehicles for people who were still coming in. We
were beginning to run out of room! Weary club officers hurriedly
met and discussed where to park exhibitors should such a thing
actually happen. Not only did we have to worry about all of the
exhibitors, but the gate attendance on Saturday morning suddenly
boomed, requiring supervised traffic control from local authorities
as traffic backed up the three miles to the Interstate. Oh, what a
show!

Things finally slowed down and we had quite a first show.
Everything seemed to go fairly smoothly, which shows you what good
planning will do. Compliment after compliment was received about
the land which made all those long, hard, sweaty weekends of work
worthwhile. Many of us thought that now that the show was over, we
could rest easy until at least spring, when we would have to clear
more land, install more water lines, and make more roads, but
wouldn’t a know it now we are planning another auction! Never
thought I’d say that!

Editor’s Note: As we go to press, we just received word
that Van Buren Fly-wheelers has changed its name to Michigan
Flywheelers.

Gas Engine Magazine
Gas Engine Magazine
Preserving the History of Internal Combustion Engines