September 2000 at the Susquehanna Old-Fashioned Field Days


| June/July 2001



Old gas engines

Pennsylvania

It was the last days of summer 2000, the time of year when the air turns crisp and the breeze has a slight chill in it. It was also time for the annual Susquehanna Old-Fashioned Field Days, a community show that among other things features old gas engines and tractors.

Stored in our trailer were four New Way engines, clean and polished with flywheels gleaming not a speck of rust to be seen. Eddie had tied them down, and they were ready to move to Bain-bridge, Pennsylvania. On Friday, the 16th of September, he hauled the engines north from Mount Joy along Route 441 (River Road) to the northwestern tip of Lancaster County. It took less than one half hour to get to the manicured Conoy Township Park which was beginning to show signs of life. The Boy Scouts were on the job early, directing traffic in an efficient manner. You could see they were experienced at their assignment. Bainbridge is located a few miles south of the infamous Three Mile Island, where a partial melt down occurred in 1979. Interestingly enough, I discovered on the Web that nearby there is a tiny resort area along the Susquehanna River called the Bainbridge Scuba Diving Club.

Susquehanna Old Fashioned Field Days is definitely a family affair. There are the three generations of the Williams family and its well known apple press. Darl Williams is the owner of the press. His brothers and sons, Jeff, Mike and Ben take turns manning the operation powered by a 2 HP Witte gas engine. His three grandsons, Ty, Ted and Cole were present, but much too young to be interested in the operation. The brave sons never seem to notice the very determined bees thirsty for the sweet apple juice, but you better believe I keep a safe distance from them.

Next to the cider press a young man, Jay Williams, who set his l HP Hercules gas engine up to operate an ice cream maker. I did not keep my distance from the chocolate ice cream. It was so good.

Darl is one of the men instrumental in getting the field days started. He usually has breakfast at the cozy Homestead Village Restaurant next to the park. One day he and Alma Zeigler, the owner of the restaurant, had a short conversation which grew to what is now one of the area's big events, maybe equal only to the Goat Races at nearby Falmouth.