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Yesterday Janna and I hauled ass across the state in the rain to attend the Glory Days Festival in White River Junction. Every year, this celebration of trains, both full-size and model, features excursion rides, toy layouts, Amtrak historical exhibits, live music, food and general entertainment.

We arrived much later than expected, about 2 hours before closing, but we did see a supremely nifty miniature steam engine in 1.5" scale [1.5 inches to 1 foot]. The operator sat on top of it, feeding wood pellets into the hopper. It also had a short straightaway of track on which the operator took people for rides. I wondered what my 1:6 scale dolls would look like standing next to it. Pictures below.
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Having familiarized myself with the general layouts last year, I focused this year on the details, particularly of the sets.
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Janna and I hit the Dollars for Scholars Train Show this morning, conveniently located blocks away from where we now live. I spent hours making panorama shots and correcting the nasty yellow fluorescent cast on all these photos, so witty captions will be sparse.

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Finally got around to selecting and post-processing these pictures.

This train show, held in the Gardner United Methodist Church in Gardner, MA, proved much much smaller than expected, even smaller than the Dollars for Scholars one in Winooski. The humungous permanent layout was worth the trek, though!

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We attended the Shelburne Museum's opening ceremonies for the new Pizzagalli Educational Center today. Taking advantage of the free admission [!!], we also hit the Toy Shop, where Janna admired the Radio Flyer layout. Though behind glass, the layout has buttons at kid level that start and stop the two trains and allow visitors to control sound effects as well.

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Feeling a desolate lack of train shows in my life [last one we went to was in March :( ], I checked the online calendars for local upcoming events. Sure, there's the annual show in Rutland the last weekend in September, but I hear that's the smallest of the Vermont shows. Why go to Rutland [at all] when we can go to the annual Southern New England O Scale Model Train Show in Gardner, MA, a week later? It's an entire day devoted to Janna's favorite scale! Also the ads say there will be homemade pie and "other goodies."

Gardner is about 3.5 hours away by car, eminently doable. We could travel down Friday, spend the night locally, enjoy trains on Saturday, then travel back Saturday afternoon or evening. 
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As far as I was concerned, the crowning jewel of the Vermont Rails Train show was, naturally, Barb Pitfido's Lego layout. I enjoyed her work immensely when I first saw it at the Dollars for Scholars Train Show last year, and yesterday was no exception. We recognized each other on sight :p, and she pointed out to me the humorous details of her layout this time around.
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Lewis Buchspics set up the layout below at about 3 feet off the ground so that kids could easily view it. Since most layouts were at least 4, if not 5, feet off the ground, kids flocked to this one, attracted as well by the copious flashing lights, sound effects, fake smoke and motorized set pieces.

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Janna and I went to the Vermont Rails Train Show at the Champlain Valley Fairgrounds in Essex Junction, VT, yesterday. Woo hoo! We enjoyed ourselves immensely. I took 273 pictures in the hopes of getting at least 25% of them to develop acceptably.
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Meanwhile, in the bustling city center, the clueless denizens of Plasticville went about their small, plastic business. Read more... )
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The best part of Barb Pitfido's Lego layout was definitely the alien invasion.Read more... )
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My favorite part of the train show was a playful Lego layout put together by Barb Pitfido, who lives and teaches in Winooski. She spent weeks constructing this incredibly detailed cityscape populated by hundreds of Lego minifigs. There was a train in there, but it was pretty incidental. I was much more entertained by the hilarious vignettes Barb had added across the tiny landscape. These photos provide an overview of the entire layout.
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We went to the Dollars for Scholars Train Show at Winooski Educational Center this morning. Janna, having not been to a train show in many years, happily geeked out. ^_^ She asked me to take pictures of the following for her. I'm not going to add much in the way of commentary since I know very little about the details. I'm sure she'll help me out. ^_^
Chugga chugga chugga chugga WOO WOO! )

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