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29th Annual WNYRHS Winter Train & Toy Show
Review February 15th and 16th, 2020

by Mike Grabecki

          Another Train and Toy Show is now behind us. But that doesn’t mean the work stops! It takes several weeks "post show" to reconcile all the details. Although we only do the two shows, work on the next one continues year round. No two shows are ever alike!

Our primary goal is to raise funds for the Society. Income and expenses are very closely monitored. Our second goal is to provide a show that gives the attendee the best value for their ticket price. And lastly, we want our shows to provide a family atmosphere. We are one of the rare shows that is "stroller friendly".

We have new vendors, returning vendors, February or November vendors, and one day only vendors. There are Model Railroad Clubs such as the Gowanda & Buffalo, N.O.M.E (HO & N gauge), Flower City O Gauge and Buffalo Model Railroad Club which interact with the public.

We also try to provide new concepts, such as the LEGO Layouts and LEGO vendors which seem to be a favorite. And lets not forget the HO gauge amusement park that is a hit with all ages, O gauge layouts that small children can operate and the popular Thomas© the Tank Engine carpeted play area provided by the Gowanda & Buffalo Model Railroad Club. There are also many Societies, Clubs and Organizations that participate.

When we arrive the Thursday of the Train Show, we observe over 50,000 square feet of open space. As volunteers arrive, Mike and Art have already measured out the plan for the north end of the building. Art’s daughter Amy has helped the last 2 shows with taping of areas on the floor. We work off a 1/8” to the foot scale plan that is adjusted for the current show. Next our volunteers flip and place over 360 tables and align the blocks. (This was completed between 2:00 and 4:00 pm. Record time!)

We also allow several large vendors in on Thursday to unload their trailers and begin setting up. This eases the work on Friday as many of our smaller vendors and layout modules start arriving.

The Train Show Committee Members are: Art Toale (Chairman), Caryl Youngers, Adam Puchalski and Mike Grabecki. The committee meets a couple of times a year and also as needed during the year. In addition Joe Kocsis Jr. assists us with the Television, Radio and Face Book advertising for both shows.

Art works with a printer to have contracts and flyers ready for each show. Contracts are mailed in late August for the November Show and right after for the February Show. Mike Grabecki maintains a database for the mailing list.

Caryl Youngers negotiates with the Fair Grounds Event Center. This critical function includes everything from tables, chairs, hourly costs for Event Center staff, facility fees, insurance, electrical outlets, hours of the shows and set up schedule.

Our volunteers help keep these costs down. Every thing we set up is done by an appreciated group which flips tables, aligns blocks of tables, label tables, monitor doors, register vendors, collect tickets and assist with any lo-gistical issues that come up. If we had to rely on the Event Center staff for any of these things, we would have to pay hourly wages for that service and decrease our funds raised. Thank you to all our society member and vendor volunteers!

Friday always appears chaotic as everyone else associated with the show arrives to set up. By Friday night we are ready for business and the start of the show at 10:00 am Saturday. The show is open 7 hours on Saturday and 6 hours on Sunday.

If you thought we were done yet, you are wrong. Tear down starts at 4:15 pm Sunday and Adam assists with lo-gistics to get everyone out as quickly as possible. (Usually 4-5 hours.)

Like I stated earlier, the work doesn’t stop. It does slow down between the February Show and July. If you have ideas for the show or know of potential vendors contact us.

If you could, share our Show Flyer with your friends, family, businesses and any other group or organization you can. Flyers are provided in the Railway Flyer publication prior to both shows. (You can print that page only).

There are a large number of jobs associated with the shows ranging from very easy to hard. The more people we have, the less work each has to do. If you want to help, contact: Art: at 837-1791 E-mail:

       Thanks again to all our dealers and friends who came to the show. And a hearty Thank You to all our Society Members who volunteered their time to help set up and take down tables, take tickets, man tables and answer questions. We couldn't have done it without all of you!

For More Information email   to Train Show at -
Or call   (716) 821-9360 and leave a message.

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This page was last updated: May 5th, 2020

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