It has been a full month for myself and other club members with the Botanical Garden display, the National Convention, the BTO convention, and the Alden Historical Presentation. The Alden Presentation was done with Gary Tebo, Rob Bond, and Mike Leonard. We got off to a rocky start due to some miscommunication, but once that was corrected, we got a circle of track set up, several displays on the table, and a power point project operational. The presentation lasted about an hour, with questions and answers the last few minutes. It was a good time, with a range of ages in the audience from 10 or 11 to 80+. And they learned some new things about railroads in general and our hobby specifically. Gary had a track powered, Revolution Shay running on the circle and I then I added my battery powered diesel. It was a good time and they were generous with a contribution to our club.
The Garden display was pretty much up and running in two nights, with the third night some final tuning. We have had some issues with both James and Thomas, but Percy is running just fine. As normal, we had visitors putting stones in the troublesome trucks. A fake lumber load was created and has kept the stones out of the trucks. The Buffalo train has had some trouble with one of the donated cars not staying on the track. We are running a short train of just two cars, a boxcar and combine. It seems to be doing very well now. We did have coverage the second day that Stinky was in bloom. There were a couple of issues with kids putting stone on the track right in front of the engine. She was reprimanded by myself and her mother. We did some things different this display with a plywood base for the Buffalo village and carpet for grass. Plus, the Gardens put a 6’ section of flowers as you enter. They also worked on putting in cameras with notices on the plastic informing them of recording activity. They also realized that visitors with small hands were reaching into the control panel. They were prepared to close that gap as well as putting a hasp and lock on the cover of the control box. We hope that this reduces the damage to the trains this display.
We have one more event at the Gardens, Starry Night. By the time of our meeting this month, this also will be completed.
We had two members who attended the National Convention (Lou & Jeannette Pease and Rich & Rose Ann Dulski). I have had several comments on the overall convention, but the one issue that stands out was our Lou taking a nasty fall that knocked him unconscious for a few minutes. After He was deemed to be ok by the emergency medics, he returned to the hotel and attended the final banquet. While there, he received first place with his filling station that was on fire. Lou is getting a lot of mileage on this model!
For the BTO, we had three couple go. Bob and Lois Rodgers, Gary and Judy Ludwig, and Bonny and myself. Both Bob and I entered the model contest, but neither won. Bonny and I entered a build your own layout in one hour. There were five entries, and in the end, they gave prizes to all five entrants. I was completely surprised at the level of these displays. The winner had three circles interconnect with cross overs, a bandstand with a concert going on, along with lots of other display items. Most of you know the winner from her visit to our club layout tours and the banquet last year, Teya Caple-Woods. Bob and Lois won a couple of engines and a couple of cars with the various raffles on the busses and in the convention hall. Gary and Judy were also winners of prizes on the buses. Unfortunately, Bonny and I were not as lucky with the raffles can came home only with the convention car, a 40th USA decorated boxcar. Bob was also able to pick up a train set for the November Mall raffle at a very good price. I heard several comments about the Buffalo convention. We set a few records with attendance of which only one was broken at this convention. I talked to one of the vendors about this year, and she told me that it was ok, but not as good as Buffalo. She ranked it very high in her sales experience. I think it is a credit to our club that it went so well.
Looking forward to a relatively quiet July, so that we can be ready for a full press display for the fair.