There's stuff happening at the Multi-cultural Center of Sioux Falls this weekend. The Greater Sioux Falls Model Train Show happens on the weekend of March 23-24 and we were there to witness the men and women(but mostly men) who were setting up for the show.
These people have worked long and hard to put on a show this weekend. Dozens of men volunteered their time to set up tables and booths for the vendors that would be coming, and they weren't just hawking the latest and greatest trains for top dollar.
Many of the vendors are selling used train stuff at great prices. Much of the stuff is either bought from retiring model railroaders or from estate sales. The result is a sale of many rare and interesting specimens at rock bottom prices.
These HO scale buildings for instance are only a few dollars a piece. New and unassembled the kits may range from $15 to even as high as $50. Most of these buildings were merely $5.
Used cars and locomotives abound. This vendor had an entire table dedicated to boxcars from various railroads around the country. From Southern Pacific and Santa Fe on the west coast to B&O on the east, he had tons of liveries for under $10. I talked to this vendor and asked where he gets all his cool stuff and how he goes about pricing something like this. "I usually buy people's whole collections at once if I can afford to. and look on Ebay to see what kind of prices they go for." He said. "Then I gotta compensate in my prices for storage and gas to get here."
The volunteers set up the tables in very short order and within the first half hour there were already many people loading tables with the things that would be shown or sold over the weekend.
There's more to do than just buy model train stuff too. There are some really interesting exhibits for both adults and kids this year. For instance this man runs the wonderfully named Grand Trunk Railroad. This is a Z-scale model railroad contained inside a steamer trunk. It's complete with working sidings and a tunnel. The backdrop is the lid of the trunk and is beautifully painted.
There are several exhibits consisting of model train layouts set up for people to look at, plus several layouts dedicated to teaching kids about model railroading. Sir Topham Hat will even be visiting. This will definitely be a fun weekend activity for both adults and kids.