Full Steam Ahead

expo features toy trains from around the world

Rebecca Mennecke

Model trains have been around since the first set made an appearance in Germany in the late 1800s. By the early 1900s, Lionel had crafted the first electric-powered model train, and by the 1950s, model train sets were a hit. For those who still share that age-old love of model trains – or for today’s kids who love Thomas the Tank Engine – the second International Toy Train Expo will chug its way to the Chippewa Valley Expo Center on July 6-7 for a weekend full of trains, trains, and more trains. According to its website, the expo “celebrates prototype and model railroading around the world.” Featuring more than 100 vendors and exhibitors, there will be train sets from the U.S., England, France, and Germany, operating layouts, vintage train collections, “scale” and miniature trains, and more. For those who aren’t quite gung-ho about model trains, there will be books, magazines, videos, and other train accessories to peruse. The International Toy Train Expo will also feature a petting zoo, bouncy houses for the kids, antique fire trucks, and Menards racing cars. Tickets are available for $3 in advance at any Menards store or for $6 at the door. Children aged 17 and under are free, and the Expo Center is wheelchair and stroller accessible. The event runs from 10am to 5pm, and event coordinators advise planning for a full day of fun. Concessions will be available. For folks coming from out of town, free camping without utilities is offered at the Chippewa Valley Expo Center from July 6-8 on a first-come, first-served basis. For more information, visit internationaltoytrainexpo.org

International Toy Train Expo • Saturday-Sunday, July 6-7, 10am-5pm • Chippewa Valley Expo Center, 5150 Old Mill Plaza, Eau Claire • $3 in advance, $6 at the door, FREE for 17 and under • internationaltoytrainexpo.org

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