By Kate Knight
People of all ages came out to attend the 19th annual Arctic Run Train Show and Sale hosted by Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders at Holiday Inn Convention Center in Stevens Point on Saturday.
The event continues on Sunday from 10 a.m. – 4 p.m. Tickets can be purchased at the door; prices are as follows: $3 for adults, $2 for children ages 11 to 16, and children 10 years old and younger are free. Families with more than one child will pay no more than $10 to attend.
Paul Clasen, the club’s head organizer for the event, said the idea for the train show and sale all started when the modelers’ club began more than 20 years ago.
“At one point we decided to have a swap meet with Marshfield, Waupaca and the Point-Plover area,” Clasen explained. “After a while some decided to have a regular train show in 2008.”
According to Clasen, the show has now expanded to 12 railroad layouts, 45 vendors and about 150 merchandise tables. Vendors at the event are from Wisconsin and Minnesota, and active model railroads come from Rhinelander, Eau Claire, Madison, Marinette and Milwaukee – among other cities in Wisconsin.
“Attendance has been over 2,000 over the last couple of years,” Clasen said. “We get about 400 under 10 years old and about 100 teenage kids, so 25 percent youth, which is our target group. We want to educate youth on model trains.”
CWMR has supported a variety of causes with money raised at the event, and plans to do the same this year.
“The last eight years we have raised an excess of $12,000,” Clasen said. “Last year we sponsored two troopers on the Honor Flight and gave some money to Make A Wish. The year before we gave to Operation Bootstrap, the Police Dept. Axillary and K9 Unit, and the Boys and Girls Club.”
He estimates about two-thirds of the train show proceeds go back to organizations within the community. “We also donate some to the Portage County Historical Society,” he added.
In addition to railroad layouts and vendors, the 19th annual event includes a Thomas the Tank Engine miniature model.
“We do it for the youth,” Clasen said. “It gives them a good hobby and a good purpose.”
“It’s very eye-opening if you’ve never been here,” he added. “Lots of creative juice, lots of hours and dollars spent. It’s an ongoing hobby – you’re never done and that’s the fun of it.”
Club member and former organizer of the train show, Phil Gjevre, passed away last fall. Clasen said Gjevre was “the driving force behind the show.”
“I look forward to seeing a lot of friends – a lot of friendships – I’ve created over the years,” Clasen added. “We are happy to have people come in.”
Clasen said anyone is welcome to join the club, but underage members need to have an adult sponsor. CWMR currently has about 20 members and holds its meetings inside the basement of the Bancroft Depot in Heritage Park in Plover.
For more information on the Arctic Run Train Show and Sale or to join Central Wisconsin Model Railroaders visit www.trainweb.org.