Crowds flow at Mountwood Park’s Volcano Days
VOLCANO — Good weather and large crowds throughout the weekend highlighted the 29th annual Volcano Days Antique Engine Show and Festival at Mountwood Park.
The festival saw capacity crowds throughout the three-day event which is held annually to commemorate and remember the area’s rich oil and gas history.
The festival also highlights gasoline and steam engines of all shapes and sizes along with crafts, entertainment and tractor rides to the site of the Stiles mansion that once overlooked the boomtown of Volcano.
“Things have been excellent,” said Jeremy Cross, director of Wood County Parks. “We have had perfect weather, large crowds, lots of people, lots of kids, lots of families and lots of volunteer help.
“Saturday was the busiest Volcano Days since I have been here for five years. Our parking lots were completely full.”
There were over 150 vendors this year, including many crafters and others selling unique wares. There were also kiddie tractor pulls, a rock wall, a bouncy house, face painting as well as helicopter rides which were new this year. Easy Rider also operated two buses throughout the weekend to take people to the various parking areas.
This past weekend the park was focused on the history of the oil and gas industry with over 85 entrants with 77 small oil field engines, 22 large oil field engines, one corn meal grinder, two saw mills (one miniature and one actual size), six antique trucks, 15 antique tractors of various sizes, two model engine displays with various types of oil field equipment as well as seven miscellaneous parts displays which were shown by members of Wood County Flywheelers and others with an interest in the equipment.
Jim Atkinson, of Parkersburg, was operating a shingle mill which was run by a tractor. People used such a rig in the 1890s to cut shingles for homes. Back in the day, such a machine would have been powered by a steam engine.
“We are showing the history of it and how it works,” Atkinson said. “The kids have really been interested in it.
“We have had a lot of people show up. It has been a good crowd and beautiful weather.”
Many people, especially kids, have come up and asked questions about its function, how it works and what it was used for, he said.
“We try to educate them,” Atkinson said. “We have been here for the last 25 years, cutting shingles.
“We keep coming back for the history and educating people. It is a living museum. This was the way it was.”
Greg Lang, of Florence, Ky., has been coming to the show for years. The former Williamstown resident is still a member of the Wood County Flywheelers. He was showing his 1913 International vertical Hit and Miss Engine.
The 2 horsepower engine, which weighs over 400 pounds, was used on farms to run waterpumps, buzzsaws, food grinders and more. A number of washing machines had gas engines as well.
“We have been coming out for over a dozen years,” Lang said. “We always try to make the trip for this event.
“We try to bring out some old engines to be able to show people.”
Back before electricity was everywhere in the country, these type of engines were what people used to power various devices. Up until the late 1950s and early 1960s when rural electricity was coming online, people used such engines for a variety of jobs on a farm. Many engines were scrapped during World War II as metal was needed for the war effort. However, many were still in operation and survived.
“The younger people don’t understand the evolution of technology,” Lang said. “If you can’t operate it with your thumbs, they don’t understand it.
“People don’t understand how people had to live back then. You had to have a way to power things.”
Paul Myers, of Parkersburg, and Linnie Johnson, of Washington, W.Va., were looking at many of the engines.
“I like the old engines,” Myers said. “It is the fact they are still running. The technology between then and now is vastly different. Everything today is computers. Back then it was all hit and miss engines.
“You could almost run a whole farm on one of those engines.”
Many visitors to the Volcano Days Festival just wanted to get out and enjoy the good weather over the weekend.
Sherry Wilcox, of Vienna, comes to the festival regularly.
“It is a pretty day and it is something we do every year,” she said. “We enjoy coming out here and walking around, having a bite to eat and that is it.
“I am a country girl at heart. I like being here. I have friends out here and it is nice seeing everyone.”
Barbara Moreland, of Bowerston, Ohio, drove over two hours to come to Volcano Days.
“We came down because we enjoy everything that is here, all the food and we have some really good friends here,” she said.
Moreland picked up a number of items from the craft vendors at the festival. She has friends who are vendors and she comes down to support them.
“Back at our church we are getting ready to have a bazaar,” she said. “We have picked up a lot of homemade items for that.”
This past weekend there was a lot of focus on the history of the oil and gas industry, including the engines and wagon rides to the historic Stiles Mansion Ruins by the Friends of Mountwood, Cross said.
“Those are the ways we were celebrating history this weekend,” he said.
Cross hopes everyone who came out to the park enjoyed themselves.
“There is something here for the whole family,” he said. “You have the history, you have the kids’ events, you have the arts and crafts and you have the food.
“There is something for everyone at Mountwood and Volcano Days.”
The Wood County Flywheelers were instrumental in getting the antique engines there and set up.
“I can’t thank them enough,” Cross said. “They made the engine show possible this year.
“That is the most important part of Volcano Days.”
The event could not happen without dozens of volunteers who help put the festival together throughout the year.
“We have dozens of volunteers throughout the whole year helping us with everything,” Cross said. “We start (today) working on next year’s Volcano Days.”