Nearly half a century ago, a small group of engine enthusiasts met in Dublin to celebrate the equipment used by their forefathers in the maintenance and upkeep of their farms. Eventually, this led to the formation of a registered nonprofit, The Dublin Gas Engine Meet, the mission of which is to run the show and provide a venue for antique farm equipment for the education and enjoyment of the general public.
This year’s event will be held at the Cricket Farm in Dublin on the weekend of Sept. 6, 7 and 8.
“This all started with a group of guys who met right across from the town hall back in 1972,” said Caleb Niemela, vice president of the group. “Although it was originally a group of like-minded individuals, it eventually grew beyond that, and moved to Cricket Hill Farm, where we had a lot more room.
“Our group is presently doing a lot of work on the farm, restoring historic buildings, as well as preserving antique equipment and motors. Basically, what we’re trying to do is to save our heritage and show people how far we’ve come over the last century, when it was essentially the dark ages of machinery. We want to preserve the past, to show the public how we got to where we are in the world today.”
Niemela said that each year’s show has a specific theme, with 6 horsepower or larger being the focus of this year’s event. He stressed, however, that all submissions are welcome, regardless of their power range.
“This year we’d love to see an interesting array of 6 horsepower or larger, gas and steam engines,” he said. “We want to give our guests a sample of what these large engines were used for. We invite attendees to bring their large engines to display some unusual working examples for our guests to see. Of course, all exhibits are welcome.”
Niemela stressed that this show is far from being a museum exhibit, with all of the machines working the way they originally did in their farm environments.
“We’re really trying to make this a working show,” he said. “That is, we want to run the old motors, and show how they operated in the old days. We make shingles, lumber and all kinds of different items.
“This is exactly as it was done 100 years ago. We’re really preserving the past, making sure that it isn’t forgotten. Frankly, people seem to love it, as well.”
Niemela said that what sets this show apart from other tractor events is that the public can actually see them in action.
“These machines are whirling and humming,” he said. “It’s so much more beneficial to see how these machines actually work and adds a real resonance to their history. That’s why this is so this aspect of the show is so important to us, as it makes the history really come alive.”
Niemela said that, although the primary focus of the group is this year’s show, they are also involved in the construction of several other attractions, which will enhance the scope of the event.
“We’re presently putting together a sawmill, in the memory of the late Paul Burnham, who was one of the founding members of the group,” he said. “We’re also building a small-scale railroad for rides. It’s not completed yet but will be by next year. When it’s done, visitors will be able to ride around the farm in this exciting vehicle.”
Niemela said the event promises to be a great time out for the whole family, and encourages people of all ages to attend.
“We have about 10 food vendors on the site,” he said. “Everybody should come and enjoy the past and see how things were done in the old days. Our heritage is extremely rich, and we want to preserve it. Really, these are the machines that put our country on the map.”
The 48th Annual Gas Engine Meet will be held Sept. 6, 7 and 8 at Cricket Hill Farm, Dublin, just east of the junction of Routes 101/137 on Route 101. The show will be open Friday and Saturday from 8 a.m. to 6 p.m. and Sunday from 8 a.m. to 2 p.m. Admission is $5 for adults and free to ages 16 or younger. There will also be a parade held Saturday and Sunday at 1 p.m. Parking is free, and the event will be held rain or shine. For more information, call David Whitney at 563-8067 or Caleb Niemela at 491-1076. Visit online at DublinNHGasEngineMeet.com.