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Tallahassee Model Railroad Show Back On Track This Weekend

A model train set is set up in the middle of a room.
Big Bend Model Railroad Association
used with permission
Many model train layouts, like this one, are made up of highly-detailed modules, which are fitted together.

To make up for last year's pandemic-forced cancellation, Tallahassee's Model Railroad Show at the North Florida Fairgrounds this weekend will be bigger than ever in terms of both length and attractions.

Most people probably don't think much about trains unless they're stuck at a railroad crossing, waiting for a hundred-car freight to crawl by.

But model railroad buffs love trains so much, they bring miniature versions of them into their homes and lavish them with hours of fascinated attention.

Historically, Tallahassee's annual model train show has been THE place for model railroaders to meet, exchange notes on their hobby and drool over - and usually buy - new goodies for their own layouts. Big Bend Model Railroad Association President Andy Zimmerman said that made last year a particularly sad time.

"2019 we had a fantastic show. It was a one-day Saturday show and I think we had 600-700 people paid through the gate. People came from all over and we had something like 35 vendors and 150 tables."

Of course, the pandemic saw to it there was no 2020 show. But Zimmerman said the receding threat has put the event back on track, so to speak.

"We're coming back with a flourish in 2021. Since we couldn't have a show in 2020, we're going to have a two-day show this year."

Mostly, he explained, to fulfill the frantic demands of model rail buffs near and far.

"I had people calling me like, 'Please! We're coming from Kentucky,' or 'We're coming from Mississippi. Please don't cancel that show!' I'm not canceling it."

Zimmerman said this model railroad show will be larger and have more to offer than any of its predecessors.

"It looks like we've sold 155 tables this year, so we're packing them in. And we have 11 different styles of layout; actually, closer to 12 because one of the guys is bringing a Duplo (made by Lego) train layout for the kids. So we'll have all the different scales represented: 'O,''S,''HO,''Z,' and even 'T' scale is going to be represented and that's 144th or half of 'Z' scale."

Besides all those train layouts, Zimmerman said there will be seminars covering everything from model train electronics to layout landscaping.

"Workshops and what have you, so we have a little bit of everything from the basic modeler to the advanced modeler, the 10-year old who wants to get started to the 90-year old who's been model railroading for 40 years."

All this is happening at the North Florida Fairgrounds this weekend.

"It's going to be June 26 and 27. 9 to 5 on Saturday and 10 to 4 on Sunday," said Zimmerman.

Follow @flanigan_tom

Tom Flanigan has been with WFSU News since 2006, focusing on covering local personalities, issues, and organizations. He began his broadcast career more than 30 years before that and covered news for several radio stations in Florida, Texas, and his home state of Maryland.

Find complete bio, contact info, and more stories. here.