CONSTABLEVILLE — Hundreds of people got a glimpse into a bygone agrarian lifestyle through antique farm equipment displayed during the 44th annual “Old Time” Gas Engine, Tractors and Truck Show this weekend.
The Flywheels and Pulleys Club captured the intrigue and amusement of children, parents, teenagers and senior citizens Saturday by displaying dozens of old tractors with frames that were rusted, faded, or bursting with color; engines that chugged as they moved, rows of antique cars and other miscellaneous equipment, such as a cement mixer from 1925 and a 1922 rusted gas-pump shovel towering above them. Several tractors roared as they navigated the field past gazing onlookers and tested their strength during the afternoon tractor pull, with the backdrop of old carnival music or live country music echoing through the field.
Festival-goers also enjoyed woodworking and blacksmith demonstrations, flea market vendors and barbecue at the club’s 42-acre property off Route 26.
Richie Miller drove a 2001 Ferguson tractor around the show, with neighbors Jeremiah Bakker and Zoey Laframboise riding at alongside him, and displayed a 1955 Case SC and 1969 David Brown tractor. He developed a love for antique farm equipment while spending time with his aunt and uncle, Flywheels and Pulleys Club co-founders Olga and John Miller. His passion escalated when he purchased the 1955 Case tractor about five years ago, along with a hatred for modern technology.
“It’s just the good ole times,” he said.
The weekend-long show, which kicked off Friday, serves as the club’s largest fundraiser and typically attracts between 3,000 and 5,000 people.
Lance Blood, president of the club, and other members showcased a 1916 Ireland Drag saw unit powered with an associated engine carve slices of wood from lumber. Spectators were invited to burn an “FP” into those pieces with a branding iron.
Mr. Blood also highlighted the early 1900s Farquhar sawmill nearby, which he tinkered with since 1986, that helped cut the wood for the building that housed an office, kitchen, pavilion and blacksmith shop on the club’s property.
Much of the equipment on display came back to life thanks to the hard work and interest of club members, Mr. Blood said. While the club has hundreds of members on its mailing list, many are not active, and those who participate are typically elderly, Mr. Blood said.
Attracting younger members to preserve the craft has been challenging, he said, but he finds joy in the enthusiasm exhibited during the show.
“I was always interested in old stuff. I’m a mechanic by trade,” he said. “Most of the guys are interested in tinkering with stuff like that.”
The club’s founders created it in 1976 to commemorate the United States bicentennial through their shared love of preserving antique equipment, Mrs. Miller said. The show serves as an extension of that passion.
“I can’t explain how wonderful it is to see people come,” Mrs. Miller said.