Carroll County Times

Steam Show Days draws people of all ages

Alyssa Harman, 4, plays on a toy tractor near tractors on display during Steam Show Days at the Carroll County Farm Museum in Westminster Friday.

Alyssa Harman was only a month old when she attended her first Mason-Dixon Historical Society Steam Show Days.

Now, at age 4, she is seen at the event pedaling around her own pink John Deere tractor.


Alyssa's mother, Jacquie Harman, of Westminster, said her husband collects antique tractors and displays them at the event. The family attends every year.

"My husband rides [the kids] around on tractors all day," she said.


The Mason-Dixon Historical Society's 51st annual Steam Show Days is being held at the Carroll County Farm Museum. The event kicked off Thursday with an auction and continues through Sunday.

Hundreds of pieces of antique farm machinery, steam and gas engines and antique cars are on display. Demonstrations taking place at the Farm Museum during the event include saw milling, shingle sawing and branding, baling, threshing and grinding.

In addition to the Steam Show events, there are farmhouse tours and food for sale. The Living History Center, exhibit buildings and Museum Gift Shop at the Farm Museum will be open noon to 5 p.m. today and Sunday.

The Mason-Dixon Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the history of farming methods in Carroll County by preserving antique farming technologies, according to society President Larry Airing.

Members of the Mason-Dixon Historical Society were seen Friday fixing old tractors or keeping their old equipment running. Steve Harman, of Taneytown, was oiling up his 1914 International Harvester.

"When I grew up, that's what we had on the farm," he said of the machine.

The 30-year member of the organization said he has about 20 international harvesters and brings a different one each year. Steve Harman likes explaining to visitors how the equipment operates.

"It's not like today's engines," he said. "You can look at it and see how stuff works."


One display featured framed advertisements for the steam shows in the 1960s, at that time called "Annual Steam Round-Up."

The event has gone from featuring a couple tractors at the event's conception to featuring hundreds of tractors of all makes and models that were built as long ago as the early 1900s, Airing said.

"It's gotten very large over the years," he said.

People of all ages can find something that interests them, Airing said. Children's attractions include a kids' pedal pull today and Sunday. There will also be an all-day antique tractor pull today.

"It takes a lot of coordination with a lot of different people," he said.

Members from similar clubs from the Eastern Shore, Pennsylvania and even as far away as North and South Carolina come to the Steam Show, sometimes also to bring machinery.


The event often gets partially rained out, but weather forecasts are predicting clear skies this year for the Mason-Dixon Historical Society's main fundraiser, Airing said.

"This year we're going to have a good year, I believe," he said. "It's supposed to be good weather all weekend."

Herbert Runkel, of Frederick, decided to visit the Steam Show early Friday. The 87-year-old has some trouble walking around, but he still attends every year and takes his time looking around using a modernized wheelchair.

Runkel was a farmer for 25 years, so he likes looking at the old tractors.

"All of this was used and built back in my day," he said.

Billy Hesson has lived on the same farm in Westminster since 1943, so he's no stranger to tractors - especially Oliver farm equipment.


"I was born and raised on Oliver tractors," he said.

Airing said people should attend the event to learn about Carroll County's agricultural heritage.

"We keep the history of farming alive," he said.