My paternal grandparents have been vendors at model train shows for years, though of late they've narrowed it down to two shows a year. In 2014, they recruited my sister and I to help at our first show--in Hampton--where I ended up coming home with a pan full of left-over cinnamon rolls (delicious)! Last year, I only joined in at Dubuque. So, after a two-year hiatus, I was excited to be back at the Hampton show again.
The whole family started everything off on Saturday evening setting everything up. Then we went out for dinner together at a nearby restaurant. Grandma helped with the set-up, but didn't feel strong enough to spend the whole next day at the show. Sunday morning, Grandpa, my sisters, and I got an early start at about 5:30 A.M.
We stopped for breakfast at the Hampton McDonald's. This particular restaurant has the nicest decor I have ever seen in a McDonald's, and the young man on duty actually brought breakfast to our table!
Back at the fairgrounds for the show, we added the finishing touches to our display. And...I made a terrible discovery! I had forgotten my camera's memory card--not fun, since my camera has no internal memory. Thankfully my sister kindly agreed to help me out, so all photos in this post are either hers or taken with her camera.
The show didn't open till 9:00 A.M. so we had plenty of time to walk around and admire everything else in the building.
Grandma had her artwork marked down quite a bit, and more of it sold than usual. I was surprised that prints actually sold better than cards. Our target customers are often the ladies who aren't that crazy about trains, but come to the show to be with their husbands...in past years, they've opted more for inexpensive cards.
Grandpa, a model train enthusiast since the 1950s, sold his extra HOs, and during a lull in the day, took my sister to see the North Central Iowa Model Railroad.
When it was my turn to take a break, I talked with a few fellow vendors. Let me introduce them to you.
Tom & Beth Klimesh
This awesome couple probably doesn't need an introduction, as I've mentioned them the past two years. One reason I always love seeing Beth is I never forget her name!
Beth told me this was their first show since April. One interesting thing about the Hampton show, she says, is that while it's in Union Pacific territory, their Union Pacific models never sell here. The folks in Hampton seem to go for the old Lionels.
While chatting with her, I noticed one of the railroad memorabilia items they had for sale was a '93 Chicago Central and Pacific Calendar. The calendar features one of Grandma's paintings, Bountiful Harvest! Beth said her cousin had it hanging in his basement train room! It was only $3, so I ended up buying it.
Master Sergeant Todd Pendleton
Master Sergeant Todd Pendleton, of the United States Air Force, is one of the few railroad enthusiasts I met who didn't claim to have been introduced to model trains by his dad. Nope--after seeing trains on tv and in the media, he asked Santa for one in 1973. And sure enough, Santa pulled through with a TYCO Spirit of '76! Pendleton has been interested in trains ever since, and sells his extras at shows.
Iowa Central Modular Railroad
I was happy to see the folks from Iowa Central Modular Railroad, based in Marshalltown, operating their very interesting layout again. I think for many, watching this layout is a highlight of the show.
The latest additions to their miniature world are an elevator platform that lifts to dump a truck at the Farmers Cooperative, and a stream with canoes. You can visit their Wiki page here and see more photos of the layout in my 2014 post.
Stay tuned for Part 2 to meet more talented hobbyists!