Thousands flock to 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market

  • Antique engines and cars, tractors and a flea market were among the features at the 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market. STAFF PHOTO/DAVID MCLELLAN​​​​​​​

  • Antique engines and cars, tractors and a flea market were among the features at the 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market. STAFF PHOTO/DAVID MCLELLAN

  • Antique engines and cars, tractors and a flea market were among the features at the 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market. STAFF PHOTO/DAVID MCLELLAN

  • Antique engines and cars, tractors and a flea market were among the features at the 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market. STAFF PHOTO/DAVID MCLELLAN

  • Antique engines and cars, tractors and a flea market were among the features at the 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market. STAFF PHOTO/DAVID MCLELLAN

Staff Writer
Published: 5/27/2019 5:55:13 AM

BERNARDSTON — A 1906 Ford Model T, black and still sleek, a 1910s green Mogul engine, still running, and a bevy of tractors from all eras — the 43rd annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market had nearly everything for engine enthusiasts.

This weekend was the annual Gas Engine Show and Flea Market, held at Pratt Field in Bernardston. Old fashioned engines, tractors — and their modern counterparts — and cars, as well as the occasional antique jet ski or motorcycle, were sprawled across the field Saturday for several thousand visitors, many of them from out of state, to view.

The three-day event, which began Friday with food vendors and an auction, also featured a flea market, tractor parades and awards for different old-time engines — and even a Sunday church service under a large tent.

The whir of stationary engines, some nearly 100 years old, could be heard at the event, much to the pleasure of enthusiasts. 

“It’s a niche, it’s a special thing,” said Howard Brewster, of Louisville, Ky. “We’ve got old cars with old engines, old radios — and then there are the tractors — it’s really a great event.”

Brewster and his wife, Anne, said they attended the Gas Engine Show and Flea Market last year for the first time, and it was too good to pass up again. 

“These are the types of things I would see with my grandfather, as a little girl,” Anne Brewster said. “There’s a nostalgic feeling coming here, and I think that’s why it’s still so popular.”

Among the several thousand people drawn to this small town of about 2,000 were others from out of state. Ryan Hughes came from southern Vermont to see the tractors with his girlfriend and said the magnitude of the event impressed them both. 

“It’s amazing that you can walk from one end to another in about five minutes, and see an old coupe and all sorts of engines,” Hughes said. 

The Gas Engine Show and Flea Market, in its 43rd year, is the biggest fundraiser for the United Church of Bernardston. 

According to organizer Bob Allen, it has become an increasingly popular community event, normally drawing between 6,000 to 8,000 visitors in total, as well as about 100 vendors. 

The show also features around 100 tractors, 20 to 30 classic cars and 150 gas engines from different eras, Allen said. 

It was only its second year at Pratt Field — previously, the event was held at a different field off of Route 10, where the marijuana producer The Heirloom Collective is now located. According to Allen, the new location has proven itself a popular one, with two more acres of space and a larger parking area. 

And from the happy visitors Saturday, it seems Allen was right.

“This is just one of those things that you don’t really get to do much, and the kids have fun, everybody has fun,” said Ruth Daniels, watching the a group of children driving small garden tractors and laughing. 

“And this area, it’s the perfect place for it,” Daniels said. “I think the variety you see in the different tractors and engines here has to do a lot with the agricultural history of the area.”

Reach David McLellan at dmclellan@recorder.com or 413-772-0261, ext. 268. 




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