It’s no secret that the model train hobby was more popular with older generations than it is with young kids today. Sure, most kids like trains -- look at the popularity of Thomas the Tank Engine -- but few children grow up to be hardcore model train enthusiasts.
The miniature railroad enthusiasts behind Trainfest want to change that.
To make the event even more appealing to youngsters, Trainfest 2009 features more kid-friendly activities. The two-day event will take place at the Exposition Center at Wisconsin State Fair Park on Saturday, Nov. 14 and Sunday, Nov. 15 from 9 a.m. to 5:30 p.m.
Adult admission is $12; kids ages 4-14 are $2 and kids under 4 are free. Go to the Web site for a free admission coupon for kids and discounted adult admission.
Trainfest is America’s largest operating model railroad show, and it features more than 50 detailed, operating model railroad displays and scenic reproductions, along with 70 manufacturers, 60 hobby dealers and 12 historical groups.
"Trainfest is a show where families can enjoy a fun-filled day together and feel a part of something very unique," said John H. Tews, executive director of Trainfest. "The sheer number of layouts we have at Trainfest makes our show special, but it's the craftsmanship and creativity poured into making these layouts that is truly spectacular."
Because Trainfest is about passing along the traditional hobby of model railroading to a new generation, there are loads of things for kids to see and do, including a railroad built entirely from Legos.
Plus, kids can ride a circus train replica, several exhibitors let kids operate the trains, Radio Disney will set up a craft booth with a take-home activity and children can race two trains against each other on a track set up in the shape of a dog bone.
Trainfest will feature operating layouts from Z to G scale, and manufacturers and vendors will bring everything from starter train sets to miniature cars and buildings that are ideal for first time layouts.
The exhibit hall will feature several new layouts, and model railroad experts will demonstrate how to create landscapes. Some layouts depict Wisconsin tourist highlights, including farm scenes, lake cottages and river trips, and the accurate detail will teach kids about life during a long-gone era.
Last year, Trainfest attracted more than 21,000 attendees from across the country. The show included over 160 exhibitors from Oregon, Texas, California, Florida, Vermont, Maine, North Carolina and New York to showcase their operating model railroad layouts and miniature scenic reproductions.
"Our goal for the show is to grow the hobby and create a place for those passionate about model railroading to build lasting relationships," says Tewes. "Trainfest has something for everyone, activities for kids, dozens of scenic layouts, great deals on train products, demonstrations, how-to clinics and more."
Molly Snyder started writing and publishing her work at the age 10, when her community newspaper printed her poem, "The Unicorn.” Since then, she's expanded beyond the subject of mythical creatures and written in many different mediums but, nearest and dearest to her heart, thousands of articles for OnMilwaukee.
Molly is a regular contributor to FOX6 News and numerous radio stations as well as the co-host of "Dandelions: A Podcast For Women.” She's received five Milwaukee Press Club Awards, served as the Pfister Narrator and is the Wisconsin State Fair’s Celebrity Cream Puff Eating Champion of 2019.