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Family fun during 2013 Steam Engine Days

Fri, Sep 13th, 2013
Posted in Mabel Features

Kael Simpson, age 4, shows the candy he received during the Steam Engine Days parade to his Grandparents Mike and Bev Simpson of Chatfield, Minn. Kael is the son of Jim and Jennifer Simpson of Chatfield. Photo by Barb Jeffers

By Barb Jeffers

The 61st Hesper - Mabel Steam Engine Days took place September 6-8, 2013 in Mabel, Minn. with residents and visitors enjoying all of the activities. The highlight of the celebration is the steam engines and tractors although there were many other events for people to participate in or to simply sit back and watch all of the excitement.

According to the event’s website, www.steamenginedays.com, Steam Engine Days began on a small scale in 1953 when a group of men from the Hesper area realized that “threshing” grain with steam engines was becoming obsolete with the introduction of the gasoline engine. These men did not want the steam engines to be forgotten so they began with an exhibition of steam engines and the celebration has grown tremendously in size since its inception.

Thursday, September 6, got Steam Engine Days rolling with a parade of tractors from Hesper, Minn. to Mabel followed by the “Buck Hollow Band” who performed at the American Legion Hall in Mabel. Music entertained the crowd on Friday night as well with the “Country Cousins” band.

Tournaments and contests got participants up and moving early on Saturday, September 8, with the softball tournament beginning at Loren Hawks Field and gardeners brought in their biggest and best pumpkins for the Pumpkin Contest. The third place pumpkin, weighing 366 pounds, belonged to Payton Schultz. The second place pumpkin came in at 440 pounds and was brought by Lonnie Pierce. The first place pumpkin weighed a whopping 530 pounds and the proud owner is Chris Schultz.

Choices of things to do on Saturday were not in shortage between the Simple Living Farmer’s Market where visitors could choose fresh products, the Mabel-Canton Senior Class 44th Annual Antique Show & Sale at the high school gym to find a treasure or two.

Other options for fun events were the Craft Show in the Steam Engine Museum Building which was filled to the brim with crafts, jewelry, clothing, and much more to admire and perhaps purchase and the Quilt Show in the Mabel Community Center showcased the talents and pieces of art which had been created by many. An interesting Model Railroad Show drew many people into the Jag Amdahl Building to view the running scale models.

Tractors and steam engines of every size, color, and age were on display in the Parade of Steam Engines and Tractors which went on for miles. The streets of Mabel were heavily lined with residents and visitors enjoying not only the equipment in the parade but also the men, women, and youths driving the equipment and people being pulled behind many entries in wagons. Showers of candy had children running to grab as many pieces as they could before it all disappeared.

Mike and Bev Simpson, along with their son, Jim, enjoyed watching their grandson, Kael, age 4, waving to the people in the parade and collecting treats as they were tossed. Kael is the son of Jim and Jennifer Simpson of Chatfield, Minn. Also enjoying the parade was George Breitsprecher, 18 months, who was sampling a tasty sucker that landed in his direction. George is the son of Andy and Diana Breitsprecher of Mabel.

Immediately following the Parade of Steam Engines and Tractors was the Festival Parade which included entries of all kinds. Grand Marshal Marc Prestby waved to many familiar faces as he rode in the parade and the Osman Shrine Dragon Patrol was exciting for the children as it blew “smoke” into the crowd. The Mabel-Canton High School Marching Band got the audience fired up as they marched through the parade.

One of the more comedic entries in the Festival Parade was the float from Salon on 52 of Mabel whose theme was “Salon Commander” similar to a popular television show and consisted of people in camouflage and long beards.

The stage at the Steam Engine Grounds was busy following the Festival Parade. The Little Miss Mabel Pageant was held followed by the coronation of the 2013 Steam Engine Days Queen. The participants were all dressed to the nines and each was a stand out in their own way. According to Heather Kleiboer, member of the organizing committee, the results are as follows: Queen - Taylor Adkins, First Attendant - Nicole Eiken, Second Attendant - Sara Vettleson-Trutza, and Little Miss - Lydia Vatland.

The Steam Engine Grounds were filled with steam engines, tractors, and many other pieces of equipment. Hesper - Mabel Steam Engine Days is the oldest steam engine show in Minnesota and also one of the most popular. One unique piece of machinery belongs to Brandon Rutter-Daywater, of Badgersett Farms, Canton, Minn., with a sign on the side of the machinery saying “The future of the world is nuts” giving confused viewers a hint of what the equipment is for which is a hazel nut “combine” used by Rutter-Daywater. Technically the equipment is not a combine as it has no thresher, so it is actually a nut harvester but whatever it is called it is quite an interesting piece of machinery.

A bean bag tournament and Bingo gave attendees to Steam Engine Days a way to have a good time with friends and family while playing. More games were also happening on the Steam Engine Grounds with Jolly Jumpz Amusement providing bounce houses, and other enjoyment for kids. The Little Blue Choo was also in Mabel to provide rides to youngsters in a train scaled to their size. A Fireman’s Water Fight brought much laughter and cheers from the crowd that gathered to watch on Main Street.

Saturday evening events began with the Tri-State Pullers Truck and Tractor Pull at the Historical Society Grounds. The Tractor/Truck Pull is consistently a popular event which provides hours of entertainment to the audience. Dancing took place in Mabel on Saturday evening with a teen dance and also a dance at the American Legion Hall featuring “Little Dale & The Legends” band. Fireworks flew over the Steam Engine Grounds once night fell giving adults and children one last blast of fun for Saturday.

An ecumenical church service started off the day on Sunday at the Steam Engine Grounds featuring the Biernan Family and activities started on Saturday continued at the Steam Engine Grounds and around town throughout the day.

Sunday noon brought another Parade of Steam Engines & Tractors and an additional Festival Parade for those who may have missed the parades on Saturday or those who enjoyed Saturday’s parades so much they wanted to see them again.

Children from preschool age to fifth grade had a wonderful time digging through piles of straw to look for rewards during the Coin Find with the audience of family and friends enjoying themselves just as much by watching the kids come up with their finds.

Music filled the American Legion Hall on Sunday afternoon which was provided by the “Toe Tappers” which did have many adults tapping their toes while talking and laughing with friends. Youth events kept children and families busy with fun-filled activities including the Iowa Thunder youth drill team who impressed the audience with their performance at the Historical Society Grounds followed by kids doing their best at Mutton Bustin at the Steam Engine Grounds. Drawings for prizes occurred Sunday evening with many lucky people taking home prizes including a 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition and a 1963 Allis Chalmers D-15 Series II Tractor.

Steam Engine Days 2013 provided many activities and events for anyone spending a day or the weekend in Mabel. Undoubtedly the planning for the next Steam Engine Days is ready to begin with volunteers working hard all year to prepare to show everyone another great time next year at the 62nd Annual Steam Engine Days which is always held the first weekend after Labor Day. For hundreds of photos from Steam Engine Days 2013 go to the Fillmore County Journal’s Facebook page at www.facebook/fillmorecountyjournal.com and comment on any photos of those you may know!

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