In what's billed as a massive play date for imaginative interaction, train aficionados young and old will construct a large wooden layout this weekend at the sixth annual Train Fest.
They'll be using the classic wooden connecting tracks with non-motorized rail cars that link with magnets, said Eric Johnson of the Fairhaven Toy Garden, which is sponsoring the event. It's from 1-4 p.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Firehouse Performing Arts Center, 1314 Harris Ave. Cost is $10 a family or group. Children younger than 12 much be accompanied by an adult.
Brio or Plan are among the more popular brands, but "they're all pretty much compatible," Johnson said.
"We just take masking tape and mask off different areas for them to build," Johnson said. "By the end, all the kids sort of connect them and make a 'super track.' It was great."
"The kids get super-excited," he said.
Last year, he said, a special electric Thomas the Tank Engine locomotive was used to pull a string of cars around the entire layout, to the delight of all participants.
Johnson said event is as much about socializing as it is about building a layout.
"It's a lot about connection, getting parents to meet each other. It's cool for kids of different ages, the older ones help out the younger ones."
Participants are advised to mark or write a name or identifying symbol on their toys to avoid confusion, Johnson said. The event is limited to 20 families or groups; register and pay in advance at the Fairhaven Toy Garden, 1147 11th St., or call 360-714-8552 and use a credit card.
Learn a little sleight of hand in a class called "How to Fool Yourself and Others" this weekend. It's aimed at children from kindergarten through fifth grade, from 10:30-11 a.m. Saturday, March 9, at the Everson Library, 104 Kirsch Drive. For more information, call Catherine Sarette at 384-3150 ext. 218.
Suggest your ideas for family-friendly events or day trips to Robert Mittendorf at 360-756-2805 or firstname.lastname@example.org.