Tennessee Valley Flywheelers Fifth Show

| March/April 1999


Windmill--part of Sam Lowrey's display from Rome, Georgia, shown in Knoxville last October.

7828 Old Dixie Highway, Spring City, Tennessee 37381

It was a beautiful weekend with just a hint of fall in the air. A few brightly colored leaves were finding their way to the ground. This was Knoxville, Tennessee, on October 16, 17 and 18 of 1998. Knoxville is the home of the Vols University of Tennessee, and it lies almost in the shadow of the Great Smoky Mountains. Here is where the Holston and French Broad Rivers meet to form the Tennessee. From this point the Tennessee starts its 650-mile flow to the Ohio River. When at Knoxville, I was in the 'Tennessee Valley.'

After taking exit 8 off of Rt. 640, I came to the Knox County Farmers Market. I was met with an array of orange and all other colors of fall as they were gearing up for the children and the Pumpkin Festival the next day. Then I noticed still another array of colors just to the right of the pumpkin area. The bright red, green, blue and orange of tractors, and engines with spoked flywheels, met my eye. I had arrived at the fifth annual show of the Tennessee Valley Flywheelers and I was soon in a sea of spinning flywheels and tall tractor tires.

Over the aroma of new tires and engine exhaust, I kept noticing another faint aroma. This one beckoned me to follow, and I soon found the source at the 'Flywheel Cafe.' A wood-burning range with many old kitchen utensils were being used by ladies in long dresses and bonnets as they served biscuits, sausage, gravy and coffee. On the stove was a huge pot of soup simmering for the noon meal. Beans and cornbread were also slated for lunch. This took me back to the days when the thrasher went from farm to farm and the farmer's wives got together to cook a feast.

It is said that behind every successful man is a working woman. This saying is so true for a successful club also, and at this event this was very evident as the club ladies staffed the cafe, the nurse's station, registration, the gate, and many other chores, so the men could tend to their engines, tractors and other exhibits.

After fortifying myself with goodies from the cafe, I started looking at the exhibits. Molasses was being made, corn was being ground into meal, coffee beans were being turned into useable coffee, a shingle mill was turning out cedar shakes, and most were using antique power.