Strawberry Fest & Train Show to be Held June 18- 19

By: WSAW Staff
By: WSAW Staff

Saturday, June 18 - 10 AM to 5 PM - Sunday, June 19 - 10 AM to 3 PM

Waupaca Recreation Center, three blocks east of downtown at the intersection of School, State & Badger St

(Press Release) This year’s edition of the Strawberry Fest Train show is slated to be twice as big, twice the fun, and more interactive. The show’s expansion will bring new layouts, new vendors, a bigger model contest, a new feature called the Demo Derby, and a chance to ride a train…a miniature train just like at the amusement park.

Did you ever wonder how modelers built miniature trees, buildings, train cars, ships, trucks, cars, made mountains, rivers, and added details to make their miniatures look like the real thing? Both days there will continuous demonstrations by modelers showing you how it is done. It is your chance to watch as long as you want, ask questions, and get answers.

The model contest (Saturday only) is not just for viewing, and not just for club members. If you are a modeler…modeling anything – cars, trucks, boats, trains, buildings, dioramas, airplanes, or a youth making Lego models, you can enter and win. In addition to awards for the top three entries in each category, there are awards for best of show in both the adult and junior categories. Prior entries have come from as far away as Eau Claire and the Fox Valley. Contest rules and entry fees can be found on the club website:

Back by popular demand are a dozen operating model railroads, a hands-on Thomas The Tank Engine layout for the children, vendors, and swap tables. These features will be going on both days. We will be joined by clubs from Stevens Point, Marshfield, Menomonee, Eau Claire, Chippewa Falls and Madison who will share their club’s layouts, knowledge and enthusiasm for the hobby. These layouts arrive by truck, vans and trailers. The sections are joined together (including electrically) and stocked with engines, cars and cabooses. Many of the layouts, some as large as 22’ x 52’, are run by hand-held remotes, similar to your TV remote, but they make engines blow their whistle, ring their bell, and chug and smoke just like real trains. Trains pass through mountains, valleys, forests, cities, and farms crossing bridges and trestles, and disappear into tunnels.

Vendors and swap tables are important to veteran and beginning modelers. They can help you get started or find the right piece to add to your empire. Vendors come from as far away as Minnesota and Illinois bringing trains, tools, electronics, books, videos, scenery supplies and parts. Swap tables are available and give modelers a chance to sell or swap items.

Other activities and events include:
• Soo Line Passenger Depot Restoration Project (Only open Saturday from 10 AM to 5 PM). Just ten blocks from the show, next to the Canadian National tracks on Oak Street, it is a must see. This is a continuing project so if you saw it last year, you will be able to see and appreciate its progress. Some portions of the depot have been restored, others are as they were when the Waupaca Historical Society took possession of the depot. Mike Kirk, a member of both organizations spearheads the project. One of the completed projects is the newly restored tiled roof.
• Waupaca Electric Railroad’s restored baggage car (Also at the depot site, Saturday only). Restored by the railroad club, it was donated to the historical society. Mike can provide insights and history for both projects. A pictorial history of the Electric Railroad is also displayed. Ask Mike to show you his Model T depot hack.

The Waupaca Area Model Railroaders began in 1964 in a vacated 12’ x 24’ storage room. In 1988 the club began building a modular portable layout to set up at train shows. The club was incorporated as a non-profit educational organization in the late 1980s with the purpose of promoting model railroading and to educate the community about a great family activity. Members teach skills in layout construction, wiring and controls, scenery, and proto-typical operation.

The modest portable layout that started as 10’ x 20’ display has grown to 22’ x 52’ and has its own trailer for storing and transporting. It will be running at this show. It has run at National Model Railroad Association’s National Convention in Denver, Colorado, and Madison and Milwaukee, Wisconsin, and in numerous Wisconsin cities throughout Wisconsin, Minnesota, and as far away as Milbank, South Dakota.

The club has also been active in the preservation of the railroad history. The restored Waupaca Electric Railway baggage car, and its pictorial history have been displayed at many local and neighboring community events. A historical booklet about the Electric Railway was also published. The club has assisted in the restoration of an early 1900’s Duluth, Messabe & Iron Range caboose, and some members are involved with the depot restoration.

Many members have served divisional and regional officers of the National Model Railroaders Association, and the Soo Line and Milwaukee Road Historical Societies. Members have also provided advice to a model railroad project at the Rawhide Boys Ranch, and continue to work with the Iola Old Car Show.

The club actively supports the local community by awarding an annual scholarship to a graduating Waupaca High School Senior, supporting the Waupaca Area Food Bank, and Waupaca Recreation Department

Members come from many surrounding communities including Waupaca, Steven Point, Plover, Amherst, Iola, Manawa, Weyauwega, Fremont, Appleton, Larson, Wild Rose, Wisconsin. Long distance members come from Milwaukee, De Pere, and Medford, Wisconsin, and Chicago Illinois.

The club meets weekly (Thursday evening) at various members’ homes to assist them in building and operating their private railroad empires. For more information on the club, or the Strawberry Fest Train Show and Model Contest contact Dennis Cook at 824-2045 or e-mail him at, or see the website

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