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Portersville Steam Show kicks off with Spring Gas-Up

Liam Smith, 3, had fun trying out some tractors at the Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up on Sunday, May 19. Holly Mead/Special to the Eagle

PORTERSVILLE — Vintage farm equipment enthusiasts poured into Portersville for the first Steam Show event of 2024, the Spring Gas-Up on May 18 and 19.

“People can look forward to flea markets always going on ... garden tractor pulls are happening today ... the small engine lot’s up and running today,” said Nathan Minnitte, president of the Northwest Pennsylvania Steam Engine and Old Equipment Association, which organizes these events. “There’s a lot of different stuff for everybody.”

As usual, the main draw of the Steam Show was engines, both steam and gas-powered. Roughly a dozen giant, antique gas engines were lined up, side-by-side, around the perimeter of the Steam Show grounds, lovingly restored and ready to fire.

These included a 50-horsepower Bessemer engine which was once used to pump natural gas in Worthington, Pa. during the 1910s, and was made in Grove City in 1913.

“It's an engine/compressor combination, and it ran on natural gas and pumped natural gas,” said Bob Lewis, another member of the association. “A friend of mine brought this in here in about 1980. We’ve had this for a long time.”

Both days of the event featured tractor pull events in the grandstand area — one for larger tractors on Saturday, and another for garden tractors on Sunday.

In the spirit of the event, the “Wing Nuts” tractor and small engine club from the Lawrence County 4-H Club were on hand to raise money by selling candy bars.

“We teach kids how to work on older equipment ... anything from tractors to small engines,” said Nancy Kosciuszko. “They learn how to repair them, work on them, and restore them. (We teach) general maintenance and learning how to repair things on your own.”

The Steam Show grounds will reopen once more in August, with the Summer Show on Aug. 1 through Aug. 4. Still to come is another event in the fall.

Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up was this weekend. Here, Bob McNorton enjoys a little shade under the roof of his replica gas station on Sunday, May 19. Holly Mead/Special to the Eagle
Izzy McKinney gets ready for her turn in the tractor pull contest the Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up on Sunday, May 19. Holly Mead/Special to the Eagle
Gerry and Marsha Martin pause for a moment to rest and have some ice cream at the Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up on Sunday, May 19. Holly Mead/Special to the Eagle
Phil & Tim Rodgers show the crowd the art of forging tools at the Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up on Sunday in Portersville. Holly Mead/Special to the Eagle
The train makes it was around the grounds at the Portersville Steam Show Spring Gas-Up on Sunday, May 19. Holly Mead/Special to the Eagle

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