History of Trains at Christmas

Trains at Christmas is a model railroad show and swap meet that is held every year on the weekend before Thanksgiving sponsored by the Sioux Valley Model Engineers Society (SVMES) a local model railroad club.  It is an event that brings in model railroad layouts from around the Midwest to be set up and displayed.  The layouts include the small Z scale and the large O scale trains and all possible sizes in between. They also include Lionel and American Flyer exhibits.  In addition, model railroad vendors are invited to participate so that those attending can buy, sell or swap railroad items.  The main emphasis of the event is to expose and educate the general public to the hobby of model railroading and to allow model railroaders to get together to exchange new thoughts and ideas on model railroading.

It all started in 2002 when the SVMES club decided to put on a show and swap meet as a small fund raiser.  The first two years the show was held in the gymnasium of the multicultural center in downtown Sioux Falls because it was the only venue the club could afford.  Those first couple of shows were supported by about 6 different organizations with layouts and about 14 different vendors.  The event was successful and demonstrated that shows like this would be of interest to the community. The third year we had to relocate because the gymnasium was being demolished but we found a suitable location in the armory located on the W H Lyon fairgrounds.  The next three shows were also quite successful and they grew larger each year until we outgrew the armory.  In 2007 we migrated to the north end of the Expo building where the Benson flea market is held.  We felt very good about the 2007 show because we had plenty of room for people to move around to see all the layouts and we thought this space would last us a very long time.  However, because of the shows increased popularity and having more and more layouts asking to participate, we were again busting at the seams with the 2014 show. As a result, the 2015 show was moved to the center section of the Expo building which gave us twice the space and allowed us to bring in more displays.  In addition, the extra space allowed us to invite the Minnihaha Mini Makers to join us in displaying their doll houses.  The 2015 was our biggest show ever and we hope to continue having our show at this latest location.

In conclusion, the Trains at Christmas show and swap meet is sponsored by the SVMES which is a non profit 501 (c) 3 organization with the intent to be an event that promotes the hobby of model railroading and education everyone on trains.