The Main Street sidewalks were packed with eager viewers Friday night in Plain City for the annual Grand Parade of the Miami Valley Steam Threshers Association (MVSTA). Usually considered one of the event’s main attractions, the parade kicked off at 6 p.m. with an introduction by announcer, Rick Brewer, followed by the singing of the national anthem by 2017 Jonathan Alder High School graduate, Emma McLain.
“This year’s show went very well,” said Amber Martinez, secretary of the MVSTA. “We had a good turnout and even had someone asking to have a second parade for people that couldn’t make it.”
Martinez helped coordinate the parade’s exit at the north entrance of the park, making sure that all participants had their packets and information for the announcing portion. “There was a little shuffling around in the order because of Thursday’s rain,” she said. “But there weren’t any huge changes and everything after went well.”
This year’s feature tractor brand was John Deere, a brand which has been a regular steam show member since the early days. Several of the bright green machines led the way for the nearly hour and 30 minutes of the parade. The line left Pastime Park’s north entrance, made its way down North Avenue, rolled down Main Street to Park Street and finally, turned back into the park’s grounds.
Other notable tractor companies included Massey-Harris, Allis Chalmers, Oliver and Farmall, a selection of brands displaying models going as far back as the 1910s.
In addition to the tractors, the parade featured a handful of floats advertising local businesses, organizations and other events. “We tried to break up the order a little with the various floats and other vehicles,” Martinez said. Among them, the Miller Cabinet Company, Firepunk Diesel, the London Strawberry Festival, and the West Jefferson Ox Roast royalty.
After the parade, crowds followed the gas and steam engine machines back to the park to enjoy a variety of food, festivities, and a turn-of-the-century atmosphere.
Several vendors lined the path from the south end of the park near the pool to the north entrance and beyond to the park’s campground area. Visitors to the park could also enjoy demonstrations of wheat threshing as well as shingle and veneer mills running periodically throughout the grounds.
Among the most popular events to follow the parade were the lawn mower races and the old-fashioned baseball game (historically spelled, “base ball”), featuring The Ohio Village Muffins and Plain City’s own, Pleasant Valley Dutchmen. The game has become a tradition on parade night by allowing viewers a look into the sport’s past.
Players wear vintage uniforms and follow rules from the 1860s, one of which has the players catching the ball without baseball mitts. The home team managed to leave with a 21-5 victory over the Muffins.
The show continued over the weekend with its main features. On Saturday was the Central Ohio Tractor Pullers Association truck and tractor pulls and the Ohio State Antique Tractor Pullers Associations show was on Sunday. Saturday’s show had a record-setting attendance for the day. “It usually starts busy in the morning, slows down in the afternoon and is really busy in the evening. But this year, it was busy all day Saturday,” Martinez said.
She also said she is already looking forward to next year’s show. The 2018 Steam Threshers feature will be Ford, Unusual and Rare.
Reach Michael Williamson at 740-852-1616, ext. 1619