The Volunteers Make the Show

By Staff
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Managed chaos feeds 7,000 people during the Steam-O-Rama four-day run.
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Volunteers thresh while others watch safely out of harm's way.

850 S. Pleasant Ave. Dallastowm, Pennsylvania I7313-9601

The 36th annual Early American Steam Engine and Old Equipment
Society Steam-O-Rama, near Windsor, Pennsylvania, was a resounding
success September 30, October 1, 2, and 3, 1993, not because of the
tractors or gas engines on display, not because of the horse pulls
and pedal tractor pulls or mule rides, not because of the flea
market, the antique cars and trucks, or even the excellent

The success was there because of the people who volunteer untold
hours of time throughout the year in planning, preparation, and
fund raising. Those who are hauling, cooking, mowing, painting,
coaxing, boasting, and calling all year long. Then, as the show
unfolds, they are demonstrating, directing, placing, more cooking,
serving, and always smiling. They deal with blown fuses, tripped
breakers, fuel spills, water shortages, mud puddles, sewage,
garbage, more mud, safety problems, parking problems, vendor
problems and mud problems. They are up at 5:00 a.m. to get to the
show grounds before the crowd and follow the last car out at
midnight, hoping for sunshine and a good crowd for the next

An organization may have 500, 800, or 1,000 members, but the
volunteers, usually 10% or less of the membership, carry the load
and deserve the credit. The group greatly appreciates the
exhibitors and vendors who draw the crowd and keep them interested,
but if the volunteers weren’t there to mow the grounds, raise
the funds to pay for the land and taxes, paint and repair the
buildings and provide refreshments for all, it would not be much of
a show.

My particular venue is the kitchen, and as we all know, a crowd
travels on its stomach. If they are fed well and reasonably they
will stay satisfied and return again and again. Our kitchen crew is
mostly female during the planning and preparation weeks before the
show, but when the gates open and the crowd clamors to be fed, the
male population of the kitchen raises dramatically.

All year long our faithful volunteers are out for each activity.
It takes many men to binder the wagon loads of wheat in the hot
July sun to be stored for the Steam-O-Rama and for our annual
display at the York Interstate Fair. The Fair display itself takes
about 2700 hours of volunteer time. A crew of about 15 travels the
area demonstrating apple butter making and selling the finished
product to benefit our own organization and others. The Ladies
Auxiliary serves public sales by request and, of course,
refreshments for the Steam-O-Rama.

Our show raffle tractor is towed to a different location almost
every weekend from May to September. Volunteers run the ticket
stand and hand out brochures to anyone interested.

Being a volunteer is not without sacrifices. Others get to drive
in or watch the parade, but volunteers have to plan and direct it.
Others get to shop in the flea market, but the volunteers have to
place the vendors and keep them happy. Others get to sit down and
eat supper, but volunteers get to stand and eat with one hand while
stirring soup or apple butter with the other hand. Others get to
stand upwind and watch while volunteers get covered with straw and
chaff. And others get to lull in the shade under cover while
volunteers are out in the hot sun, cold rain or wind, doing all the
little and big things that need to be done.

Basically, we all do it for the fun and camaraderie, for friends
and loved ones, for Grandpa or the kids, but not for the glory, the
thanks, or the money.

All our volunteers are hard at work for the 1994 Steam-O-Rama.
We will be featuring Pennsylvania manufactured gas engines. If you
have one, or are interested in seeing what is out there, you are
invited to attend September 29, 30, and October 1 and 2, 1994. You
can be sure our volunteer crew will be working all year to help to
make each show as safe and entertaining as possible. Our thanks to
all of them!

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