was ready to hate this show.
I didn’t want to do it. We were understaffed last year and the crowds ripped shit off the layout. It was two days of hand-to-hand combat. I didn’t vote for us to go but when we did agree to attend, I showed up for all the days (Friday setup and both running days). And it wasn’t too bad, actually.
I thought the setup was going to be a continuing cock-up from last year, where at start time we had three guys. No, this time we had plenty – all sorts of hands, all sorts of experience. The layout went up nice and neat. No, the real corkscrew was takedown. I’ll get to that.
Since we didn’t have access to concertina wire, we ringed out layout with stanchions and yellow rope. Yes, I know the arguments made against this sort of crowd control but since it came from those who did not attend this show, we ignored them like we would nagging little ghosts. No, those lines worked perfectly. People could still lead in to see our interesting details but the rope told them don’t touch. We didn’t have anything broken by crowds (in takedown, we did have two things broken by members, alas). So the onlookers were held at arm’s length and we moved trains. Lots and lots of trains.
For both days, our attendance was top notch. At one point Saturday the entire NS Yard (behind module 12 and adjacents) was totally packed – every track filled. And the main line, it was very busy with lots of cool trains (and beets) to see. We got a lot of complements and just over $50 in donations. It was a great show.
Scariest moment – the guy who was showing off hermit crabs asked if we’d allow him to photograph them on our layout. So there was Jeff’s inter-modal train with some gigantic crabs poised on the flats. It looked like something out of a 1953 horror flick.
Dumb statement moment – Someone complaining about there being too many trains on the layout (to the tune of “I see nothing but yellows and reds”). My thought – if you are seeing too many reds, you are running too fast through your yellows. Slow down. Actually, not letting kids run (yeah, that was another thing we decided on the floor. Sorry, naggy ghosts) let us pace the trains and hold slow speeds (except for that Midway guy). Look, the point of this show is to have as many different trains in motion for the display. The real town of Folkston doesn’t fill its reviewing stand with people fascinated by green signals. It fills them with a steady parade of trains. But if you want, we’ll put in a loop of track for you and you can run fast and free if you’d like.
Sorry, long day.
Anyway, as hinted at, the real screw-up came after our smooth and professional takedown. Apparently our planning group had not planned out how the modules could get back to the club. All I know is that they are over at a resident’s house and nobody seems to know how this final move is to be completed. So, nagging little ghosts, now you can do your part and figure this last bit out. After all, we did the rest of it, all weekend, hour by hour, step by step.
I’m tired. Does it show?
Anyway, overall, good show. We have the presentation down pat. Now we just need better organization.