Ironmaster organizers pleased with turnout

Published 12:00 am Saturday, June 28, 2003

Ironton residents Michael and Theresa Saul found something that both of them could enjoy Saturday -- Ironmaster Days.

"He went to the cars, and I went to the crafts," Theresa said with a laugh.

"There's something here for everybody," he said as their 10-year-old son Tommy gazed at the antique tractor display.

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The fifth-annual Ironmaster Days wrapped up this weekend with organizers pleased with the event's turnout.

"It's been great," said Pat Murphy, Ironton Business Association president. "We had a good crowd last night, and hopefully, tonight, it will be booming."

The event, which eventually grew into a festival, was started as a way to recognize the good deeds of an Ironton resident. This year's Ironmaster is Randy Lilly, founder of "Volunteer Day" in the city. Among several other community organization memberships, Lilly has spent time volunteering for youth basketball and baseball teams as well as organizing Ironton's Volunteer Clean-Up Day.

"He's done a wonderful job," Murphy said, pointing out some flowers planted after the most recent Clean-Up Day last May.

Engines roared across South Second Street during the Antique Tractor and Engine Show. The show attracted participants such as Jim Tinsley of Cross Lanes, W.Va., who brought eight engines of his own and five of his father's. Some of those engines included a 1915 Knowlton engine which could be used as a water pump or generator on a farm.

"I go to all the shows. It's a hobby that gets in your blood," Tinsley said. "It just sticks to you. It's something to do."

Tinsley rarely visits the Ironton area, but said every time he visits, including this year's Ironmaster Days, the residents he encounters are very nice.

After a car and motorcycle show, musical act Southern Pride took the stage, followed by Ironton native and country singer Lee McCormack. McCormack was back for the second year.

"I love this town, and I want to perform here. It's always great to be home."

McCormack was returning to Ironton after attending Nashville's Country Music Fan Fair, where he said he signed 100,000 autographs.

"People actually knew who I was. I was like, whoa!" he said.

"I'll be here any time they need me to come back," McCormack said.

Twelve-year-old Paige Brown had spent a portion of the day relaxing by the air conditioner, but decided to come out to see the car show. She enjoyed seeing a "blue car with sparkles," she said.

However, she does not necessarily dream of getting her own blue car with sparkles. She already has a purple car of her own, she said.