I spent an afternoon at the Steam-up.
No, it isn’t about espresso or broken fans in a shower room…
The Steam-up is an annual festival, an Antique Powerland event, in honor of archaic technologies and old machines.
People come from all over the place for this two-weekend goings-on every summer, where steam-powered tractors are the stars but there are all kinds of old free-standing motors and other odd machines from the past. There is a parade of all the old vehicles, and they drive by noisily while the crowd watches, like a moving timeline of antique equipment.
I thought the steam-powered tractors looked like locomotives which had escaped the rails.
I liked the machines with old worn-out paint after endless years of hard use. But many are completely restored to a condition my dad might have described as “all dolled up”– spotless and shiny with new paint and no rust at all. Like this tomato-red orchard tractor, made with a cover to keep its wheels from tangling with limbs.
Different men with microphones took turns talking about the machines as they drove by in the parade. They often knew the drivers and joked with them.
There were quite a few women driving tractors.
But the great majority of drivers appeared to be older farmers.
The announcer guy recommended no one fall down in front of the moving steam roller.
The grounds are huge, like a fair, with outdoor exhibits and some indoor ones. There were thousands of people there. They gathered to hear and see the old machines and to learn about how they worked.
Some people came to remember.
It was a breezy sunny day, like the air conditioning was on outside, nice.
There were women and children, but mostly men who looked like retired farmers (as if farmers ever retire) –or possibly just guys who appreciate the old machines.
I was with some people who skied Mt. Hood as children in the 1950’s. They enjoyed seeing the old Sno Cat.
You could buy ice cream that was being made on the spot in this enormous wooden bucket with an elaborate machine arrangement to stir it as it froze–
It came out as soft ice cream and it sold immediately so it never was completely frozen, but it was great, with lots of vanilla. (I didn’t try the chocolate or strawberry…)
On the way to the old car show there was a guy who sold carvings he makes from giant pieces of wood, using a chainsaw. This statue of a logger was maybe twelve feet tall.
There were some car clubs who brought their vehicles to show at this event.
I like the older cars better.
I really love the color of this one from the 40’s– a dark plum that looked like deep water.
In other news, the Oriental lilies (‘Muscadet’) are blooming.