The Great Falls Model Railroad Club will celebrate the Lewiston-Auburn Balloon Festival with its sixth annual Train Fest on Saturday and Sunday, August 20 and 21. The club’s two-story, wheelchair-accessible headquarters at 144 Mill Street in Auburn will be open for the event on Saturday from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. and Sunday from noon to 5 p.m. All five permanent layouts will be in operation, with pictures and models of hot-air balloons suspended from the ceiling to float in the blue skies above them. A scavenger hunt will encourage people to go into each room to find specific hot-air balloons near all of the model railroad layouts and in the club’s library.
As they enter the club, children will be greeted by the interactive winter scene and the large trains of the G-gauge layout. They will write their names on small paper hot air balloons and tack them on a painted backdrop scene. The younger children will enjoy playing with toy trains on the play rug and with the wooden Brio train set on the special layout built at a child’s height; parents can watch them while relaxing at the nearby tables. In the G-Gauge room, they can operate Thomas the Tank Engine on the recently updated interactive layout and watch the engine named Percy run on the trestle above Thomas. The traditional Bubble Blast will be held outdoors, weather permitting.
Admission is $3; children ages 12 and under will enter for free. Tickets to play the Balloon Bag Toss and Round House Roulette games for prizes, become a Guest Engineer on the extensive HO layout, and decorate and eat hot air balloon-shaped cookies can be purchased for $1 each or seven for $5.