For photos of some of the past events visit the Photo Gallery.

In addition to the events listed below, the public is welcome to tour the collection at no charge during work days.

2020 Roots-Sponsored Events


4 – 5

Sat & Sun

Steam Engineering and Operating Safety Class

Classes are for Roots members only(Membership application)

To register for the class send:

  1. Your name, address, phone number and email address
  2. $75 payable to Roots of Motive Power (please be sure to note that this is for the Steam Engineering Class)
  3. Membership application and fee, if applicable
Roots of Motive Power
P.O.Box 1540
Willits, CA 95490


6 – 7

Sat & Sun

Railroad Operation and Safety Class​

The Railroad Operation and Safety Class was first given in 2003 as part of the Steam Engineering Class, but it has become such an important function of Roots that we have created a two-day class just for this topic. The weekend includes a classroom session plus hands-on training. The training includes the following subjects: coupling and uncoupling, air hose connection, train movement signals and switch operation.

This class will be mandatory for anyone involved in operating railroad equipment.

Classes are for Roots members only(Membership application)

To register for the class send:

  1. Your name, address, phone number and email address
  2. $75 payable to Roots of Motive Power (please be sure to note that this is for the Steam Engineering Class)
  3. Membership application and fee, if applicable
Roots of Motive Power
P.O.Box 1540
Willits, CA 95490




Willits Frontier Day Parade / Steam-up

The annual July 4th celebration in Willits has become one of Roots’ main steam-up events since our first event in 1982 when we operated our newly completed Murray Brothers spool donkey on compressed air. As part of Frontier Days, which is sponsored by the California Cowboys Association, Roots of Motive Power volunteers steam up selected pieces of machinery and give tours of the facility on July 4th only. Also, on the afternoon July 4, a diesel-electric locomotive will pull a train for free rides. Frontier Days is a week long event which includes the July 4th parade and beef barbecue in the park, carnival rides, rodeo, junior rodeo and events at the Mendocino County Museum.

The Roots steam-up is free and open to the public.




Annual Meeting

Annual Meeting 11 AM, Roots Maintenance Yard

Election of officers, progress report of equipment restoration, repairs, acquisitions during the past year.  

Annual Steam-Up, BBQ, Raffle and Auction Plans.

Open to Roots members. 


12 – 13

Sat & Sun

Roots of Motive Power Steam Festival

The major steam-up event of the year is the Roots of Motive Power Festival, held annually in September at the Roots facility. Our work efforts throughout the year are aimed at having every piece of operable equipment under power. Plumes of steam and the shrieks of steam whistles will fill the air as a variety of steam-powered equipment is fired up.

In addition to the steam-up we reserve the Recreation Grove Park across the street for the Early Day Gas Engine Society and Bill Rose’s Model A Tour group to set up under the oaks. Late Saturday afternoon in the park we also hold the annual Roots Appreciation BBQ and raffle which has become legendary among the gourmet BBQ set. The smell of whole pigs roasting on the spit draws a huge crowd for the perfect ending to a wonderful day.

The steam-up is free and open to the public, however there is a charge for the BBQ.




Christmas Express

A Christmas party features Santa arriving on a steam locomotive. Trees, trains, singing, carollers, and refreshments make this an event for kids of all ages.

Free and open to the public.

2020 Events in which Roots participates but does not organize


19 – 21

Redwood Region Logging Conference Ukiah, CA

Roots has provided historic logging equipment for special community events such as the Redwood Region Logging Conference. The conference, an annual event showcasing new and old logging equipment and practices, alternates between Eureka and Ukiah. Roots of Motive Power demonstrates various pieces of historical equipment that document the history of the logging industry. For the RRLC Ukiah shows, up to 10 pieces of machinery from the Roots collection have been on display. On one of the days school children from all over the county are invited to tour the event.

For additional information see the RRLC website.


25 – 26

Pacific Coast Dream Machine Show (Half Moon Bay)

The Pacific Coast Dream Machine Show is a one day event held at the Half Moon Bay airport. For past shows Roots of Motive Power has demonstrated a variety of machines including steam yarders, stationary steam engines, a winch, the steam-powered road roller and various caterpillar tractors. Equipment from the Roots collection is loaded on trucks on Friday, delivered and set up at Half Moon Bay on Saturday and loaded back up on Sunday after the show for the return trip to Willits. This show has the greatest attendance of any of our steam-ups throughout the year and attracts people of all ages interested in the hundreds of antique/restored cars and trucks, restored and vintage aircraft and small engines (early day gas engines).

This show is open to the public with an entry fee which supports a worthy cause in the Half Moon Bay area. More about Dream Machine Show



Memorial Day at the Museum, Whitcomb Locomotive



San Francisco Center for the Book

With roots going back hundreds of years, relief printing — a process where a protruding surface is inked and brought into contact with paper – is one of the oldest methods of printing illustrations in books.

During the Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival we celebrate this interesting fact of book arts history in the biggest, over-the-top, spectacular way we can think of, by printing linocuts using a 7-ton 1924 Buffalo Springfield steamroller and linocuts using a 12-ton 1916 Kelly Springfield steamroller — both provided by Roots of Motive Power – combined with the road surface of Rhode Island Street as a humongous makeshift printing press. In this way a team of featured artists, printers and steamroller operators create large-scale Featured Artist prints and smaller Personal Prints Artists prints, during the Festival.

See for yourself! Come to the Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival. Admission is free. 

The resulting “Featured Artists Roadworks” prints are then sold for $500 (3’x3′) and $250 (18″x18″) and Roadworks “Roadworks ‘Personal Prints’ Artists'” prints are sold for $40 each as a fundraising activity to benefit San Francisco Center for the Book. Thank you in advance for your support!

The Roadworks Steamroller Printing Festival has become a popular tradition in the Do.Re.Mi (Dogpatch-Potrero-Hill-Mission) Arts District of San Francisco, that attracts art, printmaking and book art enthusiasts of all ages, including adults and kids, from far and wide.

For additional information see the San Francisco Center for the Book website.



Decorative Engine House

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