AUBURN — The Great Falls Model Railroad Club will celebrate the Great Falls Balloon Festival with its ninth annual Train Fest from 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturday, Aug. 17, at the handicapped accessible, two-story railroad club at 144 Mill St. All layouts will be in operation, with pictures and models of hot-air balloons temporarily floating in the blue skies above them. A scavenger hunt will encourage everyone to find specific hot-air balloons near the model railroad layouts and in the club’s library.

As folks enter, they will see the G-gauge trains running on multiple tracks in an interactive winter scene. Children can write their names on small paper hot air balloons and add them to a painted backdrop scene. Younger children can play 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 craft tables.

In one section of the G-Gauge room, children will see Thomas the Tank Engine and the engine named Percy running on the colorful trestle above Thomas. On the main layout, logging trains will run on the large trestle while freight and passenger trains run on the double track below. The extensive HO layout downstairs will be fully operational while work continues on renovations and track improvements. There is no charge for older children to become Guest Engineers on the HO layout.

Tickets can be purchased at $1 each or 7 for $5 to decorate and eat hot-air balloon cookies, and to play the Balloon Bag Toss and Round House Roulette games. Admission to the event is $5; children 12 and under are admitted free.

Pictured is Paul Lodge, secretary of the Great Falls Model Railroad Club.

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