No Steam Threshers Show this year

Wally Biernacki and Lis Balson, both from Orono (Ontario, Canada), travel throughout Canada and the United States educating the public about Biernacki’s quarter-scale Case traction steam engine and threshing machine. One of their stops last year was the Miami Valley Steam Threshers Association’s annual show and reunion at Pastime Park in Plain City. This year’s show has been cancelled.

(Posted June 9, 2020)

By Kristy Zurbrick, Madison Editor

For four days in July, Pastime Park in Plain City is filled with the sounds of old-fashioned engines chug-chug-chugging and pop-pop-popping. That won’t be the case this July.

The Miami Valley Steam Threshers Association opted to cancel its 2020 Show and Reunion, originally set for July 16-19. This would have marked the event’s 71st year.

The organization issued a letter on May 18 to visitors, sponsors and vendors. In it, they explain that concerns related to the coronavirus (COVID-19) were the reason for the cancellation. At the time, state leaders had not set guidelines for holding such events, and organizers were wary about moving forward due to the uncertainty of what the coming months might hold.

“We understand that many families and businesses plan so much around the show, and this wasn’t a decision any of us wanted to make, but we wanted the safety and health of everyone to be our number one priority,” Amber Martinez, secretary, stated in the letter.

The show features displays of steam engines, antique tractors, gas engines and model engines. Shingle mill, sawmill, veneer mill, drag saw, threshing and baling demonstrations take place daily. Steam engine and lawn mower pulls, parades, and a swap meet also are part of the fun. Each year, the association chooses a different make of equipment to spotlight; this year’s was to have been International Harvester.

The event attracts an older crowd, something organizers kept in mind when deciding to cancel this year’s event. Older adults are considered to be in a high-risk category when it comes to COVID-19.

“We really cater more to older people than the young. Older people want to come out and see what they ran as kids or even as adults,” said Asa Schreck, vice president. “We thought it would be better to hold off for a year.”

Schreck said he will miss socializing with people he has come to think of as family. In his 15 years with the organization and involvement in the show, he has come to know many regular visitors, exhibitors and vendors from around Ohio and beyond.

“It’s like being a part of a family, even though you only see them for the week that we’re here,” he said. “Hopefully, next year everything will be all done, and it will be like a normal show.”

The 2021 Miami Valley Steam Threshers Association Show and Reunion will take place July 15-18 at Pastime Park. The featured make of equipment will be Allis Chalmers. For more information about the organization and the event, go to www.mvsteam.com.

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