It's that time of year again - when area residents flock to Mabel to let off a bit of steam! As the community prepares for its 61st annual Steam Engine Days, many traditional events are once again being held as the steam engines are lined up and ready to demonstrate many different tasks throughout the Steam Engine Grounds. This year's featured tractors are Allis Chalmers.

Add in two parades, inflatable jumping toys, abundant food stands and many other special attractions and one has the perfect community celebration, sure to please everyone in the family.

Traditional favorites include the Main Street parade of steam engines and tractors that will begin at noon on both Saturday and Sunday. The festival parade will follow immediately behind the steam engine parade. Grand marshal for Saturday's parade is Marc Prestby and grand marshals on Sunday are members of the Mabel Fire Department and Ambulance crew. (See next week's News-Record for a complete story on these individuals.)

Other annual events enjoyed by all include the senior class antique show and sale in the high school gym; stage shows; softball tournaments; dances and more.

On Thursday, the parade of tractors from Hesper to Mabel will begin at 6 p.m. in Hesper. There will be a dance at the Mabel Legion from 7 to 10 p.m. that night featuring the Buck Hollow Band.

On Friday night, there will be a dance at the American Legion Hall from 8 p.m. to midnight featuring Country Cousins.

Weekend activities

The activities will be in full swing on Saturday and Sunday with the historical steam engine displays being held all day, both days. There will be a shingle mill, old-time threshing, log sawing, corn shredding, tractor plowing and sub soiling, a blacksmith shop, rock crushing, pewter smithing and a tractor barrel race.

Food and amusements on Steam Engine Grounds go all day, with gates opening at 8 a.m. Admission to the grounds is with a $5 button. Children 12 and under are admitted free.

A craft show will be held from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. on Saturday and from 9:30 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday at the Steam Engine Museum building. There are many new vendors this year.

The Mabel-Canton senior class will host its antique show and sale in the high school gym. It begins at 9 a.m. and runs to 4 p.m. each day.

If one wants to get out of the sun, play bingo in the historic barn, from 2 to 5 p.m. on Saturday and on Sunday.

One may also view quilts made by locals, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. each day, at its new location in the Mabel Area Community Center.

The model railroad show returns this year, located in the Jag Amdahl Building, adjacent to the Steam Engine Grounds. One must have a button for admission. The event will be open from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. on Saturday and from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. on Sunday.

There will be free Little Blue Choo train rides around the Steam Engine Grounds from 2 to 7 p.m. on Saturday and from 2 to 6 p.m. on Sunday.

There will also be a slow pitch softball tournament at the Loren Hawks Field, beginning at 8 a.m. on Saturday and at 10 a.m. on Sunday.

Saturday

In addition to festivities being held both days in Mabel, there are a few events that are specific to Saturday or to Sunday.

One may find local gardeners and artisans sharing their wares at the Simple Living Farmers Market from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Located one-quarter mile west of Mabel on Highway 44, the market features several vendors who offer fresh produce, canned goods, baked goods and crafts. A special treat for Steam Engine Days weekend will be the opportunity to see two teams of horses be prepared for the parade which will follow the parade of steam engines and tractors beginning at noon.

Following the parade on Saturday, the coronation of Little Miss Mabel and the 2013 Steam Engine Days Queen will be held on the stage in Steam Engine Grounds.

A bean-bag tournament will begin after the parade at the Mabel Liquor Store.

At 3 p.m. make sure to support the local firefighters as they host their annual water fight on Main Street, by the former city hall.

The annual Tri-State Pullers truck and tractor pull will begin at 6 p.m. on the Historical Society Grounds, east of the barn. Admission is $10 plus the cost of a Steam Engine Days button.

A dance at the American Legion will begin at 8 p.m. featuring Little Dale and the Legends.

A teen dance will be held on Main Street from 8 p.m. to midnight.

Fireworks will be set off at dusk on Saturday night from Steam Engine Grounds.

Sunday

The morning will begin with an ecumenical church service on Steam Engine Grounds at 9:30 a.m. The event will feature special musical guests from the Biernan Family.

An antique tractor pull and street stock pickup pull will begin at 11 a.m. on the Historical Society Grounds, east of the barn.

Following the parade on Sunday, dance to the band The Toe Tappers performing at the Legion from 2 to 6 p.m.

A Kids in the Straw Coin Find will be held for children through the fifth grade on Loren Hawks Field, beginning at 2 p.m.

The Iowa Thunder Youth Drill Team will be performing on the Historical Society Grounds, east of the barn, at 3 p.m.

The Mabel Lions will hold their annual "Mutton Busting" contest on Sunday from 3 to 5 p.m. on Steam Engine Grounds.

The drawings for the organizational prizes will be held on stage, beginning at 6 p.m., followed by the drawing for the 2013 Dodge Dart SXT Special Edition and the 1963 Allis Chalmers D-15 Series II tractor.

Food

As is the case every year, the lunch stands will be open on Saturday and Sunday, offering celebration participants some tasty options.

Come to Mabel this weekend and enjoy the community as it takes a step back in time and celebrates its heritage.