On Saturday, May 21, the Great Falls Model Railroad Club will hold its fifth annual Hobo Holiday, a family fun event, from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at the two-story handicapped accessible club building at 144 Mill Street, across from the Barker Mill Apartments in Auburn. Children and adults are invited to add to the festive atmosphere by dressing as hobos.
Hobo Holiday is an opportunity to learn about an interesting part of railroad history while enjoying model railroad displays and participating in various activities and games. Hobo culture and hobo folklore are explained in a special handout. Hobo symbols will be placed around the building telling other hobos about potential dangers or places where they are welcome. Everyone will have a chance to sample hobo stew.
A scavenger hunt encourages participants to investigate the entire railroad club building with its extensive library and model railroad layouts in various scales. Younger children will enjoy the special play area with age-appropriate trains and can operate Thomas the Tank Engine on the newly improved layout in the G-gauge room. As guest engineers, older children can run trains on the club’s permanent HO layout downstairs. Games for the children will include Hoop a Caboose, Roundhouse Roulette, and fishing for prizes in a special fish pond. Hobo Bucks for guest engineers and for games that offer prizes may be purchased at the door at $1 each or seven for $5. Model railroad supplies and TrainTime videos will be available to buy.
Railroads are private property and hobos rode the trains illegally. Because the railroad club does not want to encourage trespassing on railroad property, one of the features of the Hobo Holiday is a Railroad Safety Quiz. Maine Operation Lifesaver members have suggested a number of railroad safety questions to be answered by participating families. Throughout the building, Operation Lifesaver safety posters will display information which can be used to answer the Railroad Safety Quiz. Once the quiz has been finished, participants who have answered the questions correctly can enter their names for a free drawing. Prizes include gift certificates from Governor’s Restaurant and a free pass to ride on one of Maine’s participating tourist railroads.
Admission is $3; children under 12 are admitted free.