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Cumming Fairgrounds brings out steam engines and tractors, lots of noise and fun ensue
steam engine
The Cumming Steam, Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Expo was held at the Cumming Fairgrounds this weekend, Nov. 13-14. - photo by For the FCN

The Cumming Steam, Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Expo was held at the Cumming Fairgrounds this weekend and featured many faces new and old. The event on Friday, Nov. 13 and Saturday, Nov. 14, brought out fans of steam engines and tractors alike, generating a lot of fun, and of course, noise.

“Doing the hometown show is great,” said AJ Nahlik, a participator in the event. “The city’s nice enough to let us keep our engines here and … let us put this show on. It’s a real great time — I love these local shows.”

Nahlik said that he had been to many shows in the past as a spectator, but this was the first one he had participated in with a steam engine.

“I actually wasn’t gonna bring this engine out to this show. I was gonna wait till the parade because I’ve got several things I want to do to it,” Nahlik said. “But I have some friends of mine that said, ‘Well, everybody [would] like to see that new engine of yours, so you need to bring it down.’ So they really talked me into it.”

Growing up in Cumming, Nahlik had been into steam engines and tractors all his life, never missing a Thomas-Mashburn Steam Engine Parade. His family also has a connection to the Thomas side of the “Thomas-Mashburn” part of the parade nomenclature.

“The parade and the show — it’s definitely a part of Forsyth County history,” said Nahlik. “I’m glad that they still let us do it and that they still embrace it and enjoy it. It makes me happy to see everybody come out and enjoy these things and ask questions — actually curious about them, that’s the best part.”

tractor
While the steam engines were a large part of the event, tractors new and old from all across the globe were shown off. - photo by For the FCN

While the steam engines were a large part of the event, tractors from across the ages were lined up in colorful rows.

Andy Kennemore, local resident of Forsyth County, brought three tractors from his extensive collection: two Fords and a Cockshutt.

“You don’t see many of [the Cockshutt’s] around here, so I always bring it out so people can see something they don’t see every day,” Kennemore said.

Kennemore said he and his family have been living and farming in Forsyth County their entire lives. He and his father started getting involved in purchasing and restoring old tractors, and then began to team up with their uncle.

“We went real crazy over the years,” Kennemore said. “We got a whole bunch back at home. It’s just been in our blood, I guess.”

Like Nahlik, Kennemore and his family have never missed a parade or a local show, though they only ever participate in the local shows.

“Sometimes those parades are just so hot,” Kennemore said. “We just like to go see them … But we always do the show — maybe only ever missed two or three over the years.”

The event also sported vendors selling model tractors and engines, along with Trent Odum and his steam engine that makes ice cream.

Odum has been making ice cream at the Cumming Steam, Antique Tractor & Gas Engine Expo for 14 years now, and all with his brother-in-law’s steam engine.

The engine belongs to Michael Bagwell and was built in 1888. Both Bagwell and Odum restored it together, with Odum putting on new wheels and attaching a belt to his handmade ice cream churners and freezers.

This year, Odum made chocolate, vanilla and peach flavors to serve to both participants and onlookers of the show, topping off the excitement of steam and tractors with a sweet treat.