Winter Wonderland Train Show Report
Manassas Candy Factory
Once again the Winter Wonderland show at the Manassas Candy Factory proved a success in spite of the weather. Above average crowds were evident Wednesday through Friday but the Ice storm Saturday impacted attendance. The ice around the Candy Factory building was very treacherous. Several Trackers slipped and fell but survived without serious injury. Attendance for this year totaled 1950 per the Candy Factory staff. Everyone who enters the building is counted by the security guard.
O Gauge Layout: The crossover module was included in this year’s 28 X 38 foot design and was configured as a three loop operation. The inner loop was a figure eight while the middle and outer loops traversed the perimeter of the entire layout. The layout height this year was the normal 40 inch, no grades. The configuration provided plenty of inside access for spectators and an interesting layout for trackers. The crossover proved hazardous with several near misses and two “T” bone incidents. No names will be mentioned. Scenery was exceptional again this year and generated a lot of interest. Monuments, winter scenes, city scenes and multiple mountains graced our modules. With 8 corners there were plenty of curves. Steve’s 44 car Norfolk & Western coal train was spectacular as it navigated every corner without incident.
Standard Gauge Layout: Many thanks to Ed Beaver for providing track and assistance with the setup. Ed’s special effort was appreciated. Clem and Ed put together an 8 x 22 foot tabletop layout that featured a Hell Gate Bridge, mountains and two loops of track. Operational assistance was provided by Norm Beaver (Ed’s brother), Harold and Dave Eadie… Clem ran his one of a kind Norfolk Western “J” engine and passenger car set all Standard gauge of course. Clem also had a unique patina (rust) train that was a survivor of a major disaster, fascinating!
Food: As usual the quality and amount of food was over the top. Spaghetti and meat sauce, Chili and fixings, Chicken soup, Sandwiches and Swedish meat balls. Of course deserts were plentiful, cake, pie, cookies, brownies and more. Thank goodness no calories are counted during tracker train shows. Thanks to all contributors, their efforts are appreciated.
Special Events: We opened early Wednesday, actually at 1 PM for a special private showing for a Prince William County Special Needs school group. The teacher showed up with 24 kids (K-4) and just as many parents, Plenty of Trackers were on hand to run trains to everyone’s delight. A Christmas train with multiple new gondola cars full of goodies provided candies for all. (We did check with the teacher before-hand). Santa and his Elf provided a surprise visit. Thanks to Chick and Martha for their special appearances.
Observations: Plenty of track time was available with the three fairly long loops. Everyone made an effort to keep the tracks full. Most of the time 4-5 trains were in motion. Traversing the outer loop at (MTH) 35 mph took 2 minutes 40 seconds.
The new cart for the VA four foot corners is very cumbersome to use. The thumb screws are difficult to reach both removing and inserting. The idea of a cart or carts for these corners is an excellent idea but needs to be refined. We could have carried the corners up and down (3rd floor to lobby) several times compared to the amount of time it took to mount the corners on the cart.
Food and money donations for “SERVE” seemed to be about the same as past years. I don’t have their report at this time. We did not use our Red donation boxes because boxes were already in place for the SERVE donations.
Summary: Another successful show. Spectators were very appreciative and all Trackers enjoyed themselves and the layout preformed as expected. No major problems were encountered. As usual it took about two hours to take down the layout (Elevator) and depart the Candy Factory. Many thanks for all the members who supported the show. The effort was over the top!
Candy Factory Trackmaster