The 2015 Ohio Valley Antique Machinery show was almost over before it could begin.
The massive thunderstorm on July 18 that damaged more than 40 homes in Brown County and took three lives also damaged the grounds where OVAMS is hosted every year. Roads were washed away and two of the bridges were destroyed.
But with just a few weeks left before the start of the show, the 18 OVAMS directors and many volunteers pulled up their sleeves and got to work repairing the grounds to prepare for the event.
“All my volunteers and directors came together and we only had two and a half weeks to get the grounds ready,” OVAMS president Jeff Smith told the News Democrat.
The result of Smith and the other’s work is what Smith is calling a record-attended event. Although the final attendance numbers haven’t been compiled, Smith said that everything at this year’s OVAMS went off without a hitch.
“It was perfect this year,” Smith said. “It was probably the smoothest running year that we’ve ever had this year. It was just an outstanding show. I’ve never had as many good compliments as I’ve had this year.
“The weather really plays a big factor in people coming out but six out of the last 10 years have been record shows for us, even with rain. We’re doing something right because people like to keep coming out.”
Fellow director Wanda Griffith concurred.
“My flea markets were full and we just had a great crowd,” Griffith said. “Friday night was great and Saturday was our biggest crowd, as usual.”
In addition to the large crowds that attended, a record amount of antique tractors were entered into the show. Smith said that there were more than 580 tractors on OVAMS grounds, and they ran out of spaces for all the tractors. Griffith said she had more than 120 vendors and every vendor space was used, another good sign for the event.
“My vendors said that they had great sales. It was a buying crowd,” Griffith said.
Both directors had high praise for the weekend’s entertainment. Grasstains performed on Thursday evening, a clogging band performed Friday afternoon, the Gas Pump Jockey’s rocked out on Friday night, the Front Stage Liberty Band and Ma Crow and the Lady Slippers performed on Saturday afternoon, before Chris Higbee closed out the event with a packed show.
“The entertainment was really good this year,” Smith said. “It was the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen for Saturday night. All that was left was standing room. We expected a crowd but not that big of a crowd.”
Griffith and Smith both said they received numerous compliments from visitors and vendors alike. Smith said the event even convinced a visitor who enjoys only going to new events to come back again in the future.
“The one that got me was a guy with pedal-pull tractors visited our show last year to see if he would come this year,” Smith said. “He’s out of Union City, Indiana. He said he usually goes to one show a month. When he called me, he said he would come (to OVAMS) this year but not to expect him to come back. But when he left, he said to me it was one of the best shows he’s ever been to and he will probably be back.”
Even though the show just ended, the event organizers are already thinking about next year’s show. The dates for next year’s event have already been released, with the 46th annual OVAMS set to take place from Aug. 11-14.
“I look forward to next year even the day after it’s over,” Griffith said. “We start thinking about what can we do for next year. We’ve got things that we can get done. It’s sad to see it end, you’re tired and worn out, but you see all your hard work and most people appreciate all the hard work that’s done. All the directors got compliments on how well we do and we all work hard. Everybody works hard. I love the show. I just love the show. You wouldn’t work that hard if you didn’t.”
Smith wanted to thank all the volunteers who donated their time to help make this year’s show a smashing success.
“That’s what makes the show, people that volunteer their time,” Smith said. “Even the directors that come up here and don’t get any pay. If it weren’t for that, the show wouldn’t survive like it does.”