BUCKLEY — When going to the Buckley Old Engine Show for the first time, two things quickly become apparent.
One, it’s a place where families gather and where parents can take their kids to have a good time.
Take Kathy Pleiness of Scottville and her seven cousins who all participate in the show in one way or another.
“It’s just a big cousin gathering,‘ she said.
They all gather at a campsite at night and Pleiness and her sister cook food together for the family. Her cousin Sue Wolfe’s dad, Bob Hartwig, was one of the original members of the club who started the show, and she’s been coming since 1983.
The show gives Trever Bigelow, from Mount Pleasant, and his dad Zack Bigelow, from Shepherd, some father-son bonding time. They work on the train and their portable steam engine there every year.
Even younger kids like to come, like Ted Hassler, 10, who lives so close to the show that he can be woken up by the train at 7 a.m.
His mom, Amber Hassler, said the family first started coming to the show 12 years ago and it has a bigger draw for the family with the kids and the train.
“It’s fun to see all the people because normally Buckley is very slow and quiet,‘ Hassler said.
Ted said it’s an event that brings everybody together. The kids talked about how they had made rope as the first thing they did when they came to the show and there was a candy store where they could buy a piece of candy for a cent.
“All of it is really fun,‘ Ted said.
His brother, Pierce Hassler, said he liked riding the train and seeing all the old stuff.
“It’s different, therefore cool,‘ their sister Lillian Hassler, 12, said of the antique items at the show.
Which brings up the second part of what the Buckley Old Engine Show is about. It’s the older generation trying to hand the mantle down to the next generation.
Doug Wolfe, Sue Wolfe’s husband, said he was one of the first carvers at the show years ago.
He used to have people carve with him, but they have passed away. So now he is trying to get younger people involved and is looking for a new person to carve with him.
“This has to carry on, this needs to be here,‘ he said.
Zack Bigelow said he and his son keep coming to the show for the preservation of stuff.
He’s always been interested in steam engines, and working on the train was a dream as well, but it’s all about the preservation of stuff to make sure it’s there for future people, he said.
Organizer Jim Luper, a board member of the Northwest Michigan Engine and Thresher Club that puts on the show, said their motto is “come see the past in motion.‘
“We really like to live up to that,‘ he said.
Kids aren’t going to learn about a Rock Island tractor in school, or oil pull tractor or learn how to use a 100-year-old thresher.
They might not get to make rope and soap at home, run a loom, shuck corn and learn about other things that it takes to survive at an old farm, but at the show, people have that opportunity, he said.
All so kids like Bransen Grein, 6, who chose to spend his birthday at the show for the first time, can experience it.
He got to ride a steam train for the first time. It was shakier than he expected, but he seemed to like it.
“It was awesome,‘ Bransen said.