Palm Bay Model Railroad Club presents ‘Holiday Windows’ in Sebastian Nov. 11-Dec. 30

SEBASTIAN — The Palm Bay Model Railroad Club will open its two-part exhibit of modular HO scale trains at the Historic Sebastian School on Tuesday, Nov. 11 at 1 p.m.

Club President Bud Gilbert has announced that its members will operate the trains between 1-4 p.m. Tues., Wed., Thurs. and Sat.

The trains are part of a “Holiday Windows” display co-sponsored by the Sebastian Area Historical Museum through Dec. 30. Historical Society President George O’Neill has announced that the trains will also be operating 5:30-8 p.m., during Sebastian’s annual “Light-Up Night” Friday, Dec. 5.

Going downtown to see the “Holiday Windows” at Macy’s or Gimbels or FOA Schwarz in New York City was once a holiday highlight eagerly anticipated by many families and especially children in the days before TV and YouTube.

Each year the displays grew more and more spectacular. Macy’s had its first animated show window with a mechanical sleigh in 1883. The first Lionel model train was invented in 1900 and proudly displayed the next year.

“Window shopping” was a common experience for everyone. All major U.S. cities and large European cities had similar window displays. Boys and girls would stand outside for hours with their parents to watch elaborate displays designed to draw Christmas shoppers into the stores. Crowds would return year after year. It was a real family tradition.

Wilma Bertling, Jean Ivone and Joan Wooldridge, Historical Society members, created the exhibit using the first-floor hallway windows of the Historic Sebastian School. Christmas trees, ornaments and other supplies were donated by many Sebastian residents who are down-sizing their family celebrations this year. The exhibit is dedicated to Doris Jorgensen who inspired the display by giving her own Christmas decorations prior to her death in July.

This year, make it a family affair in Sebastian. Relive those nostalgic times. Plan on bringing your children, and their grandparents, to Sebastian’s Old School on Dec. 5 between 5:30-8 p.m. to see the windows, watch the trains, enjoy hot chocolate and cookies and remember together what the winter season meant to youngsters years ago.

If you will miss Sebastian’s “Light-Up Night,” check out the exhibit from Nov. 11 through Dec. 30.

The Historic School is located at 1235 Main Street in the Sebastian City Hall Complex. It has handicapped access, facilities and plenty of free parking.

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