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Train show draws a crowd, raises money for Lions Club

November 24, 2003|by DON AINES

chambersburg@herald-mail.com

MONT ALTO, Pa. - The image of a model train circling a Christmas tree is an American holiday icon, one that still interests collectors and kids, judging from the numbers that showed up Sunday for the Waynesboro, Pa., Lions Club's third annual train show.

Emily and Benjamin Driscoll, and Jaryd King, all of Waynesboro, seemed transfixed by the HO-scale train wending its way through an imaginary mountain town, one of two running displays at the show in the Mont Alto Volunteer Fire Co. fire hall.

"The youngsters built all the houses" from kits, said Charles Bradley, a resident of Quincy Home. "They helped build the mountain. The kids put most of the trees in," he said.

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The model train project was the brainchild of Cliff Rau, another resident of the retirement home community, Bradley said. It was Rau, he said, who came up with the idea of residents and children from the day-care center at the home building the train set.

Jonah Smith and David Henke, both of Waynesboro, were a few feet away, taking turns operating the controls of a larger-scale set belonging to Dave McCarney, chairman of the Lions Club's Train Show Committee.

McCarney said last year's show raised about $1,200 for Lions Club sight preservation programs, such as eyeglasses and vision screenings for the needy, and research into eye diseases.

About 400 people attended the show, paying $3 for an adult or $5 per family. The Lions also sold raffle tickets patrons could use at the vendor booths, as well as brooms, a traditional fund-raiser for Lions clubs.

Club member David Mackley said the club sold vending space for 86 vendors from as far away as Dubois, Pa., although there was competition from another Lions show in Westminster, Md., that day.

"We had people from there that came here and people from here that went there," Lion Ed Miller said.

"I sold a lot of pictures today," said Bill Elden, a Waynesboro vendor whose wares were not strictly limited to vintage model trains. His vintage photos of steam locomotives at long-gone stops in Waynecastle, Pa., Fort Ritchie and Thurmont, Md., were popular, but so were his Franklin Mint autos and fire engines, he said.

"I liked the train show," 3-year-old Benjamin Driscoll said as vendors began packing up at the end of the show. "I want to stay here."

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