Opinion Matters

With Gazette Opinion Editor Greg Peck

Train show delights young and old

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Greg Peck
Monday, March 15, 2010

Trains chugged through farm scenes and past ponds and feed mills. Sets included a snow scene, a circus train and a monorail just like at Disney World.

Kids found plenty of buttons to push for sounding train whistles, kicking workers in a control tower into action or making hot air balloons rise and fall.

The scene was the Delavan Train Show, Friday through Sunday, at the American Legion building in downtown Delavan.

What a delight for kids and their parents and grandparents.

Best off, you could see more than a dozen train setups free. You could buy lunch or raffle tickets to help support the event, or make donations, but the event charged no admission.

Thank train aficionado Jim Saer for that. He started the show back when it was at Community Bank. Now, Sara and Brad Deschner are in charge and get much help from the Legion and Delavan train hobbyists Chuck and Carolyn Carlson. It’s not surprising that it attracts thousands of visitors each year.

The place was swarming when we took our grandkids, 8-year-old Lexie and 1-year-old Remy, to see the displays around noon Sunday. We had to hold Remy so he could see the tabletop displays and, well, to keep him from climbing aboard the sets on the floor.

After seeing the dizzying array upstairs, we went downstairs. When Lexie caught sight of all that was down there, she proclaimed, “cool, awesome,” and sprinted into the room.

Her favorite set, however, was easily that of Greenfield’s Ron Schlicht. His included a working lumberyard, a forklift hauling barrels and little men jackhammering—the vibrations making the scene look real.

Best of all, he had 12 “celebrity” figures tucked into his set, each about an inch and a half tall. I think Lexie spotted them all—everyone from Ronald McDonald to Batman and Robin (in the Batmobile, of course) and even Mike Rowe from the Discovery Channel’s “Dirty Jobs” (Lexie watches the show with her dad).

There was so much to see that we almost missed two nifty items. Schlicht had a little video camera atop one train engine, and the camera was hooked to a TV. You could watch the TV to get a view of what the little engineers in the train might be seeing—including a view of the giant observers just ahead. Another was the train on the bar near the front door that was being used to deliver change to paying customers.

If you missed the show this year, watch for it next March.

Greg Peck

Last updated: 10:12 am Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Greg Peck can be reached at (608) 755-8278 or gpeck@gazettextra.com. Or follow him on Twitter or Facebook.

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