The World’s Greatest Hobby (WGH) program, sponsored by the Model Railroad Industry Association (MRIA), has selected St. Louis as the location for its second WGH on Tour event, and the Gateway Division, will be there to promote the hobby and membership in the NMRA.
On January 8-9, 2005, the show will be at America’s Center in downtown St. Louis, the convention center next to the dome where we held the 2001 National NMRA Convention. Hours will be from 10 am till 8 pm on Saturday, the 8th, and from 10 am till 5 pm on Sunday. Admission is $9 for adults and in FREE for those 16 and under.
This is a program designed to showcase model railroading and is intended to be exciting for model railroaders and fun for the whole family. Among the advertised attractions are operating model railroads, an exhibition on the Walt Disney Railroad Story, 200 booths of manufacturers and retailers, 100 trains for kids to operate (Thomas the Tank Engine Train Playland), Choo Choo Charlie the Railroad Robot, and demonstrations, seminars, and new products. In promoting the program to potential exhibitors, the organizers have emphasized that this is not just for diehard modelers and it is not a swap meet, flea market or junk show. (And the cost of booth space for manufacturers reflects that!) The program has budgeted over $50,000 for promotion, so watch for coverage on television.
So why is the Gateway Division, with its many “die-hard modelers” participating? Organizations like the National Model Railroad Association, as well as model railroading manufacturers and publishers, need to keep current modelers interested in the hobby and tell future and wanna-be model railroaders about its many aspects and how to get started. We have a lot of enthusiasm for the hobby within our membership and we should share it. Our current project railroad will be on display and we plan to present workshops, as well as on-going answers, on how to build a portable layout. We also hope to sell raffle tickets as our annual fundraiser. In addition we will have a 10’ x 10’ booth where we will promote membership in the National Model Railroad Association and answer questions about modeling and activities in our area.
St. Louis is the second of four shows scheduled this year. Let’s show everyone what a great model railroading community we have!