Here they come around the corner. Several trains are on display at the annual Golden Empire Historical Society's Model Train Show. It’s the largest of its kind in Kern County. The organization believes the show is important for history.
"One of the things that we're concerned about is the history of railroads in Kern County as well as the West," says John Donaldson, treasurer of the Golden Empire Historical Society. "This is just an aspect of railroading that people can see and enjoy, for a lot of people, it's a hobby."
About 120 vendors set up shop at the fairgrounds on Saturday and Sunday. Many sold hobby trains, engines, tracks and sets of all sizes.
"We just like bringing our layout to the shows," said Allen Arnett of Visalia Electric Railroad Modelers. "We like watching the kids, especially, look at them and what a kick they get out of them."
Kids like Alyssa Valdez loved watching the trains go around. "I like trains because they take you from one place to another," said the eight and a half-year-old Valdez, who came to the show with her grandfather. "They're really colorful, and I like it when they do the sound."
Debbie Schrader made a choo-choo noise on a hand-crafted whistle her husband made. She's selling them for their Imagination Depot company.
"We have train pillows, train blankets, we sell train fabric," Schrader said with a conductor's cap on. "My husband's been making them for 34 years."
The train show is a sight for all ages. There are about 10 train layouts. Many of the models come equipped with lights and sound, a different spin on a classic collector's item.
"We just think it's a great opportunity for people to see and remember what it used to be like," Donaldson said. "Trains today are so different than the ones in the past like when I grew up, so it's fun to see it and reminisce about what we saw in the past."