The Van Wert County Courthouse

Thursday, Jul. 29, 2021

Model Railroad Show and Swap event set

SCOTT TRUXELL/independent writer

It’s a hobby that is enjoyed by young and old alike and it’ll take center stage at the Van Wert County Fairgrounds this weekend.

Model train layouts such as this one will be part of the attraction of this weekend’s Railroad Heritage Weekend Model Railroad Show and Swap. photo provided

The 18th annual Railroad Heritage Weekend Model Railroad Show and Swap, sponsored by the Van Wert County Historical Society, will be held Saturday and Sunday, and spokesman Chuck White said he expects the annual event will return to pre-coronavirus form and more. Due to COVID-19, just two buildings were in use in 2020, but this year, four buildings will house vendors, layouts and more.

“We’re probably going to exceed our previous high of vendors which was 230,” White said. “We’re going to have five mayor layouts and while we had a decent year last year, this year is going to be phenomenal, stupendous and amazing.”

White also offered praise for Fair Manager Mike Poling for spearheading improvements at the fairgrounds.

“He is doing a bang up job with the fairgrounds and we’re going to have one of the best venues for our show that we’ve ever had,” White said.

Among the improvements — all new lighting in the Commercial Building along with new electric cord drops, more tables, and the purchase of new two-way radios.

White also thanked members of the Van Wert business community for providing donations that are used as gratuities for the displays featured at the show. He also said some of the donations will help fund the Junior Engineer certificate program.

“Any child under the age of 12 can get registered and they get a little card with a number on it, then they go from layout to layout,” White explained. “Each time they do that there’s a slip of paper that will be recorded with their number on it and it’ll be thrown into a bucket and we’ll collect those at the end of the day; then we’ll draw for a train set. We have enough funds that we’re going to try to give away five or more train sets this year.”

White added that winners do not have to be present to win.

With an eye on attracting younger people to the hobby, White also said he’s reached out to Brumback Library to provide another incentive.

“I asked if they would set up a deal where any child in the summer reading program who reads a train book would get a free pass to the train show,” White stated. “The child doesn’t need a free pass but the parent or adult who brings them will need it. The pass is for Sunday and it will give them a chance to become a junior engineer.”

Other offerings will include a food court and food trucks and golf carts to shuttle attendees from building to building.

Show hours will be 10 a.m. until 4 p.m. Saturday and 10 a.m. until 3 p.m. on Sunday. Admission is $6 for adults or $8 for a two-day pass. Children 12 and under will be admitted free of charge. Masks and proof of vaccination will not be required for admission.

POSTED: 07/20/21 at 10:51 pm. FILED UNDER: News