The Great Falls Model Railroad Club of Auburn and Lewiston is holding its fifth annual Christmas “ExTRAINaganza,” a unique model train event with special activities for children, at 144 Mill Street in Auburn during the last two weeks of November. The handicapped-accessible club house, across from the Barker Mill, will be decorated for Christmas with trains of various sizes running throughout the two-story building for everyone’s enjoyment.
The days and times of the five-day event correspond with those of the Shriner’s FEZtival of Trees as we try to make the L/A area a family destination at Christmas time. The ExTRAINaganza begins on the Saturday, Sunday, and Monday before Thanksgiving and ends on the Friday and Saturday after Thanksgiving. The times change from day to day.
Model trains will be operating on temporary and permanent layouts which are different each year as club members continue to develop them. The G-scale layout at the entrance to the club always features creative winter scenes designed for the occasion by club members. Young children enjoy operating trains with Thomas the Tank Engine inside the G-scale room. Interesting details have been added to the smaller N-scale and Z-scale layouts. Bob Willard will display about twenty feet of his On30 layout downstairs in the classroom area. Older children can run trains on the extensive HO layout, which is also downstairs. Throughout the year, club members have been working on the HO layout’s electrical system, track improvements, and scenery. A variety of train sets under the Christmas trees will be raffled off, with the drawing to be held on Saturday, November 30.
Parents can enjoy light refreshments from conveniently located tables and chairs in the “Dining Car” while watching the play area which has trains for younger children. Other activities in the same room include making Christmas tree ornaments and decorating cookies.
TRAIN TIME videos will be shown continuously each day and will be available for sale. Train cars, ExTRAINaganza T-shirts, hand-crafted Christmas ornaments, and Christmas cards created from the club’s large collection of train slides may also be purchased.
The “FEZtival of Trees” at the Kora Shrine Center in Lewiston takes place on the same days, giving families an opportunity to enjoy both events on the same day or alternate days: Saturday, November 23, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; Sunday, November 24, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m.; Monday, November 25, from 4 to 8 p.m.; Friday, November 29, from 10 a.m. to 8 p.m.; and Saturday, November 30, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Admission is $3 for adults and free for children under 12.
Photos of the ExTRAINaganza in previous years can be found on this website and at www.gfmrrc.com. The club has a lot to be proud of and we enjoy sharing our model railroad enthusiasm with everyone.