Spokane Interstate FAIR

By Staff
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Ian Swan, age 3 and the youngest dues.
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Steam kettle.
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Checking wiring and generally drying out the machines.

Box 11222, Spokane, WA 99211

Ian Swan, age 3 and the youngest dues paying member of
Spokane’s Indl and Empire Steam and Gas Buffs, holds grand-dad
John’s first prize plaque for the latter’s entry in 1 HP
and under engines at the recent Fair. Swan’s wee scott is at
Ian’s left on a trailer load of old iron owned by Bob and
Darlene Mueller. In the background is more of the show.

A few years ago the long-established Spokane Interstate Fair, in
recognition of growing interest in old time engines, railway items,
etc., entered into an arrangement with the Inland Empire Steam and
Gas Buffs and other historical societies whereby fair goers could
view restoration efforts first hand. This plan in a few short years
has grown so that a permanent area is now reserved for the
club’s exhibits.

Operations (all steam or gas powered) include threshing, baling,
flour making, ice cream freezing, separate drag sawing and wood
buzzing. An outdoor kitchen in turn of the century motif provides a
gathering place with its wood fired range. The kitchen is
completely controlled by club ladies whose sales of flour and
related items add to the upkeep. Mementos, programs, memberships
etc. along with photos and other trivia are offered. An old time
tool shed and blacksmith shop round out the general old time

Whether Andy Goertsma decides to put a fire in his steam kettle
within the next few minutes is a moot question. With the water
glass at low tide and no fuel in sight it appears to be negative.
However, a few sticks of kindling alongside the rear truck seems to
indicate Andy might have had a thought along that line then cooled
off. Handy Andy’s exhibits are always tip-top. An old retired
Great Northern Railway baggage and mail car forms the backdrop

It’s a clear, warm day in Spokane in early September but
yesterday was a different story as a torrential down-pour slogged
the open-day. No doubt the cause of the grim look on the face of
Donnie Wolfe, who with other newer members, took on the all night
job of drying mags, checking wiring and generally drying out the
machines. Donnie is probably heading toward the cook-shack to catch
a snooze. In back are a trio of tractors from Clarence Harch’s
Poverty Flats.

Off in the large yard is the popping and banging of the old iron
joined by the resonant booms of the large oil engines. With no
limit as to size or quantity the show draws fans from miles around
and features machines from the little fractional gassers to a real
big boy… a 110 HP Case traction engine. Owned by Joe and Dale
Richardson, it was trucked some 150 miles to the show from its base
at Orofino, Idaho. A smaller traction engine owned by William
Schmidt of Spokane and the big Case were busy from opening to close
giving free rides around the yards. In addition a large display of
old outboard engines, drag saws, generators and a Stanley Steamer
kept the crowd’s interest.

Yet, this is not a large show in comparison with those well
established spreads of the east and mid west. But it’s ‘on
a roll’ and the welcome mat is always out at Spokane,
Washington and more especially at ‘Fair Time’ when the real
fun begins. (1984 Fair dates are September 8-16.)

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