The 16th Annual Model Railroad Show and Sale will be held Saturday and Sunday, Jan. 19 and 20, at the Holiday Inn Hotel and Convention Center, 1001 Amber Ave., Stevens Point. It will be open from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 19, and from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. Sunday, Jan. 20.
This year’s show will feature Thomas the Tank Engine and his friends from Chugginton Station for younger railroaders and the latest in radio- and computer-controlled trains running on any one of a dozen portable layouts in sizes as big as 22-feet-by-52-feet for older people.
One layout will feature almost four scale miles of track, more than 2,000 trees and more than 250 miniature people and animals, including a monkey.
The show was originally held at CenterPoint MarketPlace and then the Ramada Hotel Convention Center, before moving to the 16,000-square-foot Holiday Inn in order to accommodate all the trains and layouts featured in it.
In addition to all the layout activity, vendors and hobbyists will be available to answer questions, and the show will bring exhibitors and vendors from throughout Wisconsin and surrounding states to network and help fulfill modeler’s needs for equipment and supplies.
“The purpose of the show is to allow the public to see what model railroading is all about,” said Phil Gjevre, show manager and a member of the Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders (CWMR), which sponsors the show. “In many respects the railroads are unique works of art and become a lifetime hobby for many individuals. I’ve been doing it for 64 years.”
Attendance has grown every year as more people learn of the show and the hobby gets more popular thanks to the support of other model railroad clubs in the surrounding area. “Our goal is to make the show become the premier after-Christmas and early New Year event that people look forward to each year,” said Gjevre.
CWMR member Larry Misiewicz agreed. “If a person enjoys trains, it creates the opportunity to create something from memory or from real life in miniature,” he said. “Some people just enjoy running trains. Others research their favorite railroad and try to create part of it in miniature, and others take pride in building their pike in detail, right down to putting utility meters on their buildings.”
“You get hooked on it when you are young and it grows on you. It is considered by some as the ‘world’s greatest hobby,’” said Gjevre.
CWMR members encourage people to come out and see the unique designs different clubs will have on display.
The show also draws former modelers who have been away from modeling for a while back into the hobby. “Model railroading is not just a guy thing,” said Gjevre. “It provides fun and relaxation to young and old, guy or gal who enjoy it. And, you are never too old to have another childhood!”
CWMR was founded as a nonprofit educational organization in 1987 for individuals with interest in model railroading to come together and share their hobby. Part of the proceeds from the show and sale go to support local nonprofit organizations, including the Portage County Historical Society and the Boys & Girls Club. CWMR worked in conjunction with the Historical Society to restore the Bancroft Depot, where the club currently holds its meetings. There are currently about 20 members ranging in age from 20 to mid-70 years old.
Admission is $3 for adults and $2 for children ages 11 to 16. Children 10 and younger are free. Families with multiple children will pay no more than $10 in admissions.
Vendors and clubs interested in participating should contact Phil Gjevre at 715-341-8228 or firstname.lastname@example.org.