Dunkirk, Ind. 47336.
'There's no way to describe it,' an old timer told me. After after visiting the ninth annual Tri-State Gas and Antique Engine Show in Portland, Ind. last year, he proved to be right.
Although the main attention getters remain the multitude of gas engines and antique tractors, there is really something for everyone at the show sponsored by the Tri-State Gas and Engine Association.
The three day event attracts engine buffs from several states. Over 1,000 engines of all shapes, sizes, and description were on display last year.
As you wander down the many rows of engines, old tractors, threshers, and other engines, the many exhibitors are more that willing to tell you about their prize equipment. People spend hours swapping stories about how they rebuilt one small engine or hunted several weeks trying to locate one particular part for their engine.
One part of the show, which entirely covers the Jay County Fairgrounds, is the old tractors. Here Rumely Oil Pulls, old Cases, and Averys are polished and shown by their owners.
And too, these machines out of the past bring with them a variety of related people. During the show there are collections of pressure gauges for the viewing along with oil can collectors.
But then there is much more to do at the three day show which requires a continuous year of planning.
One of the large gas engines taking part in the Grand Oil & Gas Parade at the West Virginia Oil & Gas Festival.
On Friday night last year the show sponsored its first Banjo Contest which lasted several hours. Pickers from all over came to this event that is viewed by overflowing crowds in the grandstands.
On Saturday night the traditional Fiddlers Contest is held. For several years this regular attention has been drawing people who hum and clap to such tunes as 'Maiden's Prayer', 'Soldier's Joy', and 'Back up and Push'.
If gas and antique enthusiasts get tired of listening to the large and small engines run, there are antique and flea markets galore. Everything from antique brass beds, Indian jewelry and furniture is there for the viewing and buying.
Glassware, watches, leather, old books, clocks,.along with items of every possible description fill booths throughout the area.
Then there are people who make wooden toys and miniature furniture and others who make brooms. Or maybe you are interested in seeing an old hand operated printing press work. It's all there!
On Sunday morning, there is an old fashion church Hymn Sing at the show. At noon on the final day comes the parade on, the track, when these huge machines are driven around leaving signs of their forgotten power with the smoke in the air.
Throughout the three day show one of the main ingredients remains - the crowd. People from all walks of life and backrounds mingle and gather together to talk of past shows and swap stories about the good old days.
You can easily spend an afternoon becoming acquainted with an exhibitor or a flea market seller.
Each year the show has grown. Last year more tractors and engines were displayed than ever before and a record crowd of 28,000 came to view them.
This year the tenth annual show will be held August 22, 23, and 24. The Banjo Contest is set for Friday, August. 22, and the Fiddler's Contest is Saturday night, Aug.. 23.
Admission to the show is $1.25 with no charge for any events inside the gate including the musical contests. The show is held partly outdoors amid large trees and inside several buildings with rest room facilities.
As usual the Tri-State Gas and Antique Engine Show will be at the Jay County Fairgrounds on the east side of Portland, Ind.
If the past years are any indication, this year's show will be bigger and better than any of the past.