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H&R Trains' semiannual show is this weekend in Pinellas Park

If you are a model railroader or you simply love trains, there's only one day left to catch a local tradition in Pinellas Park — H&R Trains' semiannual train show in its 57th edition.

"It's the original train show, for all ages from children to grandpas. It's a fun event, something we love to do," said store owner Alice Morris, who has been hosting train shows for 33 years.

The three-day show began Friday and runs from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. today.

Visitors will have the opportunity to hear a little bit of train history and see intricately designed train layouts in all scales created by contestants from all over the state.

Manufacturers will be on hand, and hourly door prize giveaways include locomotives, starter sets, freight trains and gift certificates for magazines. Free workshops and clinics also will be offered.

From 11 a.m. to 1 p.m., children ages 3 to 7 are invited to participate in the Thomas Painting Workshop hosted by H&R staffer Dyanna Broussard. Children will get unpainted wooden box cars and paint to craft their masterpiece.

Later in the afternoon, model train hobbyist Robert Sacco will host a session on track weathering and ballasting for those who want to make their train tracks look even more realistic. Alice's husband, Don Morris, will demonstrate how to make quick and easy railroad scenery.

"The love of trains is shared by all, whether people are riding one, building one or observing one," Alice Morris said. "The show is an event for everyone to come and enjoy what other people have built in model trains."

She thinks having a model train is part of growing up.

Defying convention, she fell in love with model trains back in the 1950s when she was in the fourth grade.

"Girls didn't want trains back then," Morris said. "But I was always a bit of a tomboy."

Morris, now 69, has the opportunity to be around trains daily. She owns and operates H&R Trains with her husband. Her first train, a 1:64 scale American Flyer, is displayed in the store above the ladies room with a brass plaque that reads, "Alice's First Train."

H&R Trains is billed as Florida's largest train store and a "Model Railroader's Paradise."

The sights of trains circling elaborate train layouts, whistles blowing, and even the scent of the fake locomotive smoke present quite a feast for the senses.

When asked what H&R stands for, Morris said, "Happy Railroading."

IF YOU GO

H&R Trains

57th semiannual train show

When: Today from 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.

Where: H&R Trains,

6901 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park

Admission: Free.

Concessions and model trains will be available for purchase.

For more information: Call (727) 526-4682 or visit

hrtrains.com.

4 Today

Hot Pepper Fest: Peppers prevail at this spicy event along with jellies, salsas, pepper plants, a pepper-eating contest, pepper-themed clothing, art and jewelry. 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. Sunken Gardens, 1825 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. $8 adults, $6 seniors, $4 ages 2-11. Call (727) 551-3100.

Nature Walk: Explore park's beach area to mangroves. The featured area for this week's walk is Soldiers' Hole Nature Walk. 10 to 11 a.m. Fort De Soto Park, 3500 Pinellas Bayway S, Tierra Verde. Free, but registration is required. Call (727) 552-1862.

Spanish Language Tours: In celebration of Hispanic Heritage Month, the Salvador Dalí Museum presents tours of the collection and the world of Dalí in Spanish. 1:45 p.m. Dalí Museum, 1000 Third St. S, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 823-3767 or visit

salvadordalimuseum.org.

5 Monday

Decorating Cupcakes: Learn to adorn cupcakes. Coffee and tea provided. 10 a.m. to noon. Garden Club of St. Petersburg Garden Center, 500 Sunset Drive S,. $3.50 for members, $4.50 for nonmembers. Call (727) 343-2255.

6 Tuesday

Paint in Good Company: The Pinellas Park Art Society Gallery is open Tuesdays at 1 p.m., or during Saturday Morning Market, 7 a.m.-noon, for artists interested in painting in gallery space. Bring supplies; get acquainted with gallery, other artists. 1 to 3 p.m. Park Station, 5851 Park Blvd., Suite A, Pinellas Park. Free. Call (727) 548-1284 or visit pinellasart.com.

7 Wednesday

Ghosts of Our Town: Join Ghost Tours of St. Petersburg for true ghost stories and real haunted houses in St. Petersburg. Ghost Tours of St. Petersburg/Full Monty Cafe, 119 Second St. N, St. Petersburg. 8 p.m. $15, $8 ages 4-12. Call (727) 894-4678 or visit ghosttour.com.

Three From Korea: Ceramicists Sunkoo Yuh, Sun Jae Choi and Kang Hyo Lee. Exhibit continues through Nov. 13. 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Mindy Solomon Gallery, 124 Second Ave. NE, St. Petersburg. Call (727) 502-0852.

8 Thursday

Chocolate and Wine Extravaganza: Enjoy chocolate and wine at this event put on by the National Alliance on Mental Illness Pinellas County and VINO 100 St. Pete. 5 to 8 p.m. VINO 100, 5056 Fourth St. N, St. Petersburg. Free. Call (727) 522-8466.

9 Friday

Tastes of Greece: Enjoy tastes of Greece, sounds of the Islanders Band, dancing by Kefi Dancers, and treats. Tours of church throughout day. 11 a.m. to 10 p.m. Friday; 11 a.m. to 11 p.m. Saturday. St. Stefanos Greek Orthodox Church, 3600 76th St. N, St. Petersburg. $1 entry/food, festivities priced separately. Call (727) 345-8235 or visit ststefanos.org.

Maria's Song: Based on a true story about an illegal Mexican immigrant who takes refuge in a Catholic church for a year while she tries to help her American-born son stay in the United States. Play by Suzanne Willett, starring Carmen Elisa Cancel. 8 p.m. Venue Theatre, 9125 U.S. 19 N, Pinellas Park. $15 advance at smarttix.com. Call (212) 868-4444 or visit silverglassprods.org.

10 Saturday

Gulfport Historical 99th

Birthday Bash: Kids Side Walk Art Contest and kid's activities, mullet toss, music, traditional fish fry, hot dogs and birthday cake. 4 to 9 p.m. Gulfport Historical Society Museum, 5301 28th Ave. S. Free. Call (727) 327-8370.

Inaugural Bicycle Art Ride: This ride will take participants on a journey through downtown St. Petersburg visiting galleries including Creative Clay, Interior Motives and Grand Central Stained Glass. Ride ends at Crystal Mirage Gallery at the Pier. Meet at 4:30; the event continues to 9 p.m. Craftsman House, 2955 Central Ave. Free. Call (727) 323-2787.

Leaders Light the Way

Seminar: American Business Women's Association is hosting the "Leaders Light the Way Seminar." Breakfast and lunch are included. The cost is $30. Call (813) 634-1418 or e-mail

gaskins3@knology.net. 8:30 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. Banquet Masters, 8100 Park Blvd., Pinellas Park. Call Lori at (727) 791-7011.

H&R Trains' semiannual show is this weekend in Pinellas Park 10/03/09 [Last modified: Saturday, October 3, 2009 5:31am]

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