Great Oregon Steam-Up puts history on display

Joe Beach/Capital Press An Aultman & Taylor steam tractor is on display at the Great Oregon Steam-Up in Brooks, Ore. The annual event will be July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7.

BROOKS, Ore. — Antique Powerland brings families, hobbyists, enthusiasts and artists together each year to experience the history and romance of steam-powered machinery at the Great Oregon Steam-Up.

The 46th annual Great Oregon Steam-Up is a volunteer-driven event that draws approximately 25,000 people to the Antique Powerland living museum to see fully operating steam-powered machinery over two weekends.

This year’s event will be July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7.

Show Manager Evan Burroughs said most of the equipment in the show is pre-World War II and fully restored.

The show will feature early steam-powered farm machinery, fire trucks, vintage trucks, antique cars, logging gear, a unique operating steam sawmill and various steam-powered engines.

Burroughs said the event will feature more than 500 individual pieces from Oregon, California and the Midwest.

Executive Director Pamela Vorachek said her favorite part of the event is seeing the interest expressed by generations of attendees.

“We truly have something for everyone,” Vorachek said.

Each day of the show opens at 7 a.m. in Brooks, Ore. Visitors should take Interstate 5 to exit 263 and turn west on Brooklake Road.

More than 700 volunteers will run swap meets, flea markets, raffle drawings, youth-focused events, educational booths and a daily parade of antique tractors.

Returning favorites for children are the 1/8-scale railroad rides and the steam-driven ice cream maker.

A feature new to the 2016 show is the Steampunk Art Show. Steampunk is a genre of science fiction that features steam-powered machinery. Vorachek said the volunteers added it to attract younger attendees.

During the second weekend of the show, Vorachek said Steampunks are invited to watch Steampunk artist Chuck Dolence demonstrate how he creates artwork out of radio cables.

Burroughs described the event as educational entertainment, saying attendees can come just to be entertained or can dig in and learn a lot from the vendors and hobbyists who bring their machinery to the show.

“I like being able to show the modern public the tools their grandparents, great-grandparents and great-great-grandparents used to provide a living for their families,” Burroughs said. “These are tools you can trace to modern agriculture and see that a lot of the features are very similar.”

Adult admission is $12 for one day or $20 for a weekend pass. There is a $30 pass for families. Admission for children younger than 12 is free.

Antique Powerland is a campus made up of 12 power museums whose mission is to educate the public about the history and operation of machines and the role they played in modern technology and the quality of life.

“Having events like this where you see the machines running makes it real and relevant,” Vorachek said. “At Great Oregon Steam-Up you can watch the transition and technology changes that happened to get us where we are today. It’s what we mean when we say history comes alive.”

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