Step back in time to experience Virginia’s fading farm culture at the family-friendly Pageant of Steam, a huge outdoor event at the Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds in Berryville, July 28 to 30. The annual exhibition is organized and run by the Shenandoah Valley Steam and Gas Engine Association. Massive steam-powered tractors, a major attraction, are not simply on display, as they blow their whistles at noon and lead a daily parade of antique tractors and farm equipment; they are put to work powering an old-time sawmill cutting logs into boards. They also provide steam to heat a huge cauldron that makes bean soup you can buy.
Large and small working gas engines, some more than 100 years old, power farm tools like corn huskers and water pumps. See a blacksmith at work. Another old-timer makes concrete blocks. Rows of vintage tractors are on display, and an old-fashioned threshing machine separates wheat grains from chaff.
The show will have a large flea market that sells everything from crafts and vintage attic treasures to useful tools, clothes, and household goods set up in open-air buildings and on the grounds. Food vendors sell carnival fare that can be enjoyed in shaded comfort in a dining pavilion.
Antique tractor and horse pulls will all take part in spirited competitions on Friday and Saturday nights. The horse or tractor is hitched to a heavily weighted sled, which becomes increasingly harder to pull. Whoever drags the sled the longest distance wins.
Things to Know About the Pageant of Steam
Showcase of vintage steam and gas farm equipment at work
Clarke County Ruritan Fairgrounds: 890 W. Main St., Berryville
Buy tickets at the gate. Adults $10 Friday and Saturday, $5 Sunday, free for kids under age 12
Free (on site)
Before You Go
Rain or shine; wear comfortable shoes; no pets
Children’s pedal tractor pull (ages 4–10), Friday and Saturday at 2 p.m.; horse pull followed by live country music, Saturday at 6 p.m.