Delavan Train Show on track for this weekend
Visitors to a past Delavan Train Show enjoy the variety of model layouts.
Custom model layouts are part of the show.
Model train enthusiasts share details of their work at the show.
Visitors to a past Delavan Train Show interact with model railroad enthusiasts.
DELAVAN--The Delavan Train Show rolls into town March 9-11 at the Delavan American Legion Hall, 111 S. 2nd St.
For the fifth year, Brad, Sara and Kyle Deschner are coordinating the show, helped by family and friends.
"There are many, many people that make this show successful,"Brad Deschner said. "Sara and I feel like we--everyone involved in the show--are a big, extended family. When we get together, we have three days of fun. It is a lot of work, but to have people come and enjoy the show is a reward we can't measure."
The exhibitors are what make the Delavan Train Show unique, according to Deschner. "We travel to train shows all around Wisconsin and Illinois looking for exhibitors who are interested in talking to kids and who have award-winning layouts," he said.
One such exhibitor is Ron Schlicht, who brings an S-gauge layout that has drawn the attention of television and newspaper media. Schlicht, who's won the Chairman's Award at Milwaukee's TrainFest twice--in 2005 and 2010--feels his job at the shows is to educate and entertain, and Deschner said he does just that.
"Ron doesn't sit down for three days at the Delavan show," Deschner said. "He stands and talks to all the visitors. He will point out details to guests of all ages, and also have people watch themselves on his 'train cam.' Ron and his crew are fantastic."
Deschner said the Toy Train Barn's exhibit, popular with visitors, will return for this year's show.
"Buck and Jan Guthrie own and operate the Toy Train Barn in Argyle, Wisconsin," Deschner said. "They are a fun couple who have great creativity and it shows through their amazing layout. Kids of all ages will be entranced by all the movement and inventions Buck has incorporated into his layout."
The Toy Train Barn has been featured on the Public Broadcasting Service series, "Tracks Ahead."
Joining Schlicht and the Guthries are David Tanner, back with his Helix layout, the Lionel Railroad club of Milwaukee and also brothers Jim and Gordon Letheby and their extended families--who have multiple train layouts.
There is also a local presence at the show. Ed Yaeger of Lake Geneva is back again this year with a new layout he constructed.
"Ed has an incredible knowledge of trains--both real and model," Deschner said. "He will be displaying one of the model trains that was on the original layout at the Museum of Science and Industry in Chicago. He has built custom layouts for people's homes, and is a wealth of knowledge."
Younger exhibitors David Shadel, Kyle Deschner and Connor Hutson will be back again this year.
"We love having young exhibitors," Sara Deschner said. "Today's youth are tomorrow's future for this hobby. Children are the main reason we do the show. We got into it with Kyle's interest in trains and we stay interested because of the excitement kids show when they walk through the door."
Sara Deschner encourages even visitors who aren't "train nuts" to see the show.
"I have yet to hear that someone didn't have a good time at the train show," she said. "What keeps us going is the belief that everyone has a part in defining his or her community. We want to contribute positively to the area. And we like giving people a fun day. That's what makes the show intriguing for me."
The Delavan Train Show
Days/hours: Fri., March 9, noon to 5 p.m.; Sat., March 10, 9 a.m. to 4 p.m.; and Sun., March 11, 9 a.m. to 2 p.m.
Location: Delavan American Legion Hall, 111 S. 2nd St., Delavan.
Admission to the show is free, but donations are appreciated.