Steam Engine Days ’15

After our experience last year, Mabel, MN’s Steam Engine Days has become a must-do on our list of summer activities. It’s a parade, a fair, and a model train show, all in one. There are farm equipment demonstrations and a tractor pull… Last year, there was even an RC plane demo.  It’s a very cheesy slice of Small-Town Midwestern Americana – and it’s a lot of fun!

chooThe parade is the longest I have ever attended. They always start with the same eight or twelve steam-powered tractors that tool down the road, then stop in the middle of town and blow their whistles simultaneously (which is deafening) to signify the beginning of festivities. This is followed by approximately an hour of “every tractor in the Tri-State area!” (Thank you, Dr. Doofenshmirtz.) After that, there’s a whole ‘nother parade of the usual floats, heavy equipment, horses, princesses, and politicians. We have given up at the two-and-a-half-hour mark every time, because the kids hamerchildrve at least half a gallon of candy each, and are actually getting tired of chasing it.

This year for the first time, the boys (especially AJ) really got in to the competitive, mercenary business of candy-acquisition, and started peering down the parade route, pointing out which floats were throwing it and competing with each other over who could get the most candy. What they don’t realize is that it doesn’t matter… Everyone pays the Candy Tax, where the parents confiscate all the really good pieces. Then, the rest gets thrown in to a bucket and each child can get one piece, but only when they’re good. Oh, hey, I just described Communism.

Anyway! After the parade, Lance took the boys to the pavilion with all the club layouts. We wandered around town with the girls for 20 minutes while Tim tried to remember where he parked the van. We did find it eventually and continued on to the fairgrounds, where Evie and Sera rode the train, we looked at models, and basically did everything we’d done the year before.


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