Oregon history rolls into Brooks
Anyone who harbors a fascination for history should seriously consider visiting Brooks during one of the upcoming weekends.
The annual Great Oregon Steam-Up is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7, at Powerland Heritage Park in Brooks.
This event is touted as the 2022 Gold Winner among events reviewed by Best of the Willamette Valley. The regional-rating website noted: "The Great Oregon Steam-Up is the showcase event at Powerland Heritage Park. This feature event is currently celebrating 52 continuous years of operation and offers something for everyone in the family."
The impressive array of vintage rigs alone makes for rare sights, appropriately as the event is geared toward portraying a celebration of Oregon's history and the machines that helped grow the state, according to Powerland spokesman Joe Tracy.
Tracy noted that the Steam-Up transports visitors back to an era of steam engines, steam-powered sawmills, classic cars, vintage fire trucks, antique farming equipment — it is a veritable fun and educational family event.
It's not just regional: thousands of people throughout the country attend the annual event to see century-old steam engines, tractors, power equipment, farming machines, and vehicles come to life.
"This is one of the most unique events in Oregon," said the Steam-Up Show Manager Evan Burroughs. "It takes hundreds of volunteers to pull it off, and when you see kids looking in awe at those giant steam traction engines and all the other tools of our agricultural heritage, it makes it all worthwhile."
Great Oregon Steam-Up attendees can experience:
• Rides on a 1/8th scale train and full-sized vintage trolley
• Huge steam traction engines roaming the park
• Demonstrations of old farming methods
• A working Blacksmith shop
• A steam-powered sawmill in operation
• A daily "Parade of Power" with up-close views of vintage machines like giant steam traction engines
• 14 museums featuring cars, trolleys, trains, model railroading, vintage machines, trucks, Caterpillars, John Deere tractors, logging equipment
• Demonstrations of early Oregon flour milling
• Kid activities like panning for gold, pedal tractor pulling, a LEGO display, and a Youth Passport hunt with prizes
Event organizers said fire apparatus will be the featured theme this year, with old fire engines, trucks, and equipment that will come to life as they did up to a century ago. Kids can participate in a firefighting challenge course and a fire bucket brigade. Many vintage fire trucks are on display, including one purchased by the Portland Fire Department in 1901 and later motorized in 1916.
"The Great Oregon Steam-Up helps keep the history of Oregon alive by featuring the machinery and techniques that helped build the state," said Michelle Duchateau, president of the Antique Powerland Museum Association, which oversees Powerland Heritage Park. "This is our 52nd year, and many families have made Steam-Up an annual tradition. We look forward to many more families making it a tradition."
The event also includes food vendors and live music. Organizers said a Willamette Valley Model Railroading Museum is new this year, portions of which will be open to the public.
What: The Great Oregon Steam-Up
When: 7 a.m. to 6 p.m. Saturday and Sundays, July 30-31 and Aug. 6-7
Where: Powerland Heritage Park, Brooks; a 62-acre campus just north off I-5 at exit 263
Admission: $18 for adults; $13 for students. Ages 12 and under admitted free
About Powerland Heritage Park
In the 1950s and 60s, annual threshing bees were held on farms in the Silverton and Woodburn, Oregon area. To accommodate the growing audience, a 62-acre parcel of farmland was acquired in Brooks, Oregon. Western Antique Power, Inc. (WAPI) was formed to ensure the annual event, soon to be known as The Great Oregon Steam-Up, would continue and grow.
The arrival of diverse museums and heritage clubs followed over the years. Facilities now include a steam-powered sawmill, steam crane, steam traction engines, blacksmithing, fire apparatus, electric trolleys, miniature railroading, Caterpillar equipment, antique cars and motorcycles, early day trucks, large steam engines, steam-operated cranes, small antique gas engines, tractors, drag saw manufacturing shop, model railroading, local history, and more.
Powerland Heritage Park is a designated Oregon Heritage Tradition and consistently ranks as a top 10 destination in The Oregon Business "100 Best Fan-Favorite Destinations in Oregon."
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