2nd - 3rd September 2017
Boston Steam & Vintage Festival celebrated its 12th anniversary show this year, and although steady, seemed to have a reasonable number of visitors. Saturday was undoubtedly the better day for weather and Sunday seemed to fizzle out early and down the bottom end of the field, people packed up as visitors numbered dwindled late afternoon. The admittance fee covered both the main rally and the working field or just a reduced fee for the working field only, but as this was some way out of sight up the busy road, I didn't make it up there.
There was a sizable contingent of tractors parked up on the rally field and three or four did come back Saturday night to park up, but gaps in the line-up must have meant a few went ploughing and didn't return to the show. Likewise, the ploughing engines if in attendance must have stayed on the working field, but there were at least eight full-size steam engines in attendance, not bad for a small show. At the risk of being accused of always having a moan, one engine manned by an elderly pair of gentlemen could have done with a bit of marshals' assistance when trying to park up, as although the driver on the regulator seemed to know what he was doing, the steersman did not seem competent. And had scant regard for where he pointed the engine in relation to the public.
Apposite the steam engines, the working area as usual had the demonstration of threshing and several working wood saws, the most impressive of which was the 1920s drag saw. Once set up this worked its way through a table-top sized tree trunk in little more than 10 minutes but then needed almost the same amount of time again to set it up for the next cut. Chainsaw Nick's smaller saw seemed to be more precise in width of cut but that might be down to the smaller more regular log it was sawing. A normal saw bench plus the Ferguson tractor-mounted saw were both in support.
The large contingent of miniature steam, always to be expected here, was arranged in a U-shape around the bottom of the field and included our neighbours from last week at Earls Barton. Facing them on the caravan park side was a small contingent of classic caravan owners, but for the 2nd year running, where was the bulk of the WDHVC contingent as only Fred was in attendance? A couple of dozen stationary engines faced the other side's line of miniatures, perhaps not too advisable to have them that close as fire and petrol are not a good mix. All the stalls and trade stands seemed to pretty much fit around all four sides of the main ring, with food court between the ring and the vehicles next to the bar.
Bargains were thin on the ground but a couple of Codd bottles and a collectable biscuit tin were acquired for reasonable money. Late on, one of our redundant water barrels found a new home to offset the cost of the two new bigger barrels procured from the sale at Earls Barton, so overall not a bad weekend on that front. The limited line of bygone displays was half occupied by three displays of Raleigh Chopper and Tomahawk bikes, so we had to pitch as the start of a new line opposite, encroaching slightly into the miniature steam and tractor lines, not that that became a problem.
Saturday morning saw us joined by Sooty & Sweep chimney sweeps, a stall selling locally harvested honey and an exotic animal encounter group, showing snakes, lizards, tarantulas and tortoises amongst others. I don't mind a tortoise but am not keen on any of the others, so was glad there was a roadway in-between. As last years, cars were only reasonable in number but it turns out there were other events in the area, but three additional commercials on Sunday were well worth searching out. I hadn't seen the Crossley box-van before, or the Austin FFK, and the colourful if not altogether well-painted Bedford TK must be a relatively recent import from Malta.
Most of the other UK commercials are regulars around the area, apart from the US trucks which are not seen so often. Boston is a small but relatively relaxing show enabling one to catch up socialising or reading, giving you time to recuperate between the bigger shows of Lincoln, Earls Barton and Haddenham, or wherever else you may exhibit. It's never going to set the world alight but the team put in a lot of hard work particularly in the layout and should be supported.
2019: 31st Aug - 1st Sep