The 11th Annual Southland Model Railroad Show Spooktacular, held at Richards High School in Oak Lawn on Oct. 26 and 27, was for both the young and the young at heart.
The show is the biggest fundraiser for the Richards High School Performing Arts Parents Association, which includes parents of band, choir and drama students.
Net proceeds go to a student trip account, which allows students to travel every other year to performance events that included transportation for 125 students and chaperones to Florida last year.
Band director Charles Martin said, “I came here from Iowa in 1995, and we held craft fairs to raise money, but faced stiff competition” from similar fundraisers at neighboring schools.
“The idea for the train show originally came from a parent of two former students, Mike LaBeau,” Martin said.
It has grown to include 18 train layouts, 70 vendors tables, a riding train for children, and a Scout crew helping to create small crafts for children.
Grandparents Bob and Evelyn Brunzs brought their small grandsons Miles and Benton to enjoy the day. Bob laughed and said, “I love trains. I worked on the Milwaukee Railroad for years. Actually, I worked on a few more, but that’s the only one I care to remember.”
Among the many vendors at the show was The Blackhawk Chapter of the National Railway Historical Society. Chapter president Bill Molony said, “We provide extensive archives, and we handle research requests. If someone should go to the library with a railroad question, they would refer them to us. We also regularly assist communities such as Beecher in their railroad station preservation and restoration projects.”
There were several $1 raffles throughout the fair for those feeling especially lucky.
Jim Snorek, of the LGB Model Railroad club, was selling tickets to win a starter model railroad set. Each ticket bought allowed a child to work the train controls for the train drag race that determined the winner.
Several volunteers also manned a table that sold raffle tickets for gift baskets and split-the-pot.