ALEXANDER, N.Y. (WIVB) – Engine enthusiasts and steam power aficionados, this is a big weekend for you. The Western New York Gas and Steam Association’s annual Rally is underway through Sunday at the club’s grounds in Alexander.
Every year, upwards of 30,000 people turn out over the course of the event, for a long weekend packed with education and entertainment.
“It’s a four day event where everybody brings out their displays. We have steamers, we have equipment, we have all kinds of different things going on,” said Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association President Bill Dellapenta.
Among the draws are a wide variety big engines, small engines, steam traction engines, tractor pulls, sawmill demonstrations and a working blacksmith shop, as well as more than 170 flea market vendors selling their treasures.
That’s not to mention plenty of food, including free steamed sweet corn made using a steam engine, and plenty of family fun, like a hit-and-miss engine powered carousel built from scratch by one of the association’s members, Ronald Marble. “It took me eight months and that was working 12 hours a day, 7 days a week to get it done,” Marble told News 4.
All of the machines on display are fascinating pieces of engineering and art, and the members’ enthusiasm for the engines is contagious. “People, for some reason, even when they’re young, get attached to them in all aspects,” said Jim Mead, who brought his large steam traction engine to the show. “Literally the sound, and the smell, and the clanging and banging and the whistle.”
“Then as you progress in the hobby, you learn about the interesting engineering that goes into them,” Mead added.
This year, the Gas and Steam Association added a new attraction to its collection at the Rally, a glass ribbon machine used for making incandescent light bulbs.
Next year, organizers hope to be able to show off another major addition to the collection, a 1912 Snow engine, built by Worthington Compressor in Buffalo. The association has acquired the massive machine from National Fuel, which used it to pump natural gas through Western New York from Pennsylvania.
But, it will take $35,000 to move it, and members are still working to collect enough donations to do that.
While that work continues, this year’s Rally continues to offer all of the usual favorites, from family camping to antique tractor demonstrations, and so much more. “Just be sure to come!” Mead said. “You have this opportunity once a year here and we’ve been at it over 50 years, and there’s something to see here for everyone.”
The Western New York Gas and Steam Engine Association’s Rally continues through Sunday at 10294 Gillate Road in Alexander.
Check out the group’s Facebook page for full details: https://www.facebook.com/wnysteamshow/