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Dave Halbeisen’s 29th Annual Festival of Toy Trains

About this time every year, a buzz of excitement begins to move around the Goleta Valley Library. This is the time for The Festival of Toy Trains!

For the last 29 years, Dave Halbeisen has brought joy to the community by sharing part of his collection of model trains. On display are Lionel Standard and 3 rail O-Gauge with lots of colorful accessories and scenes of characters.

The trains that run around the table range for Lionel prewar, postwar all the way up to modern.

Walking around the table with a TMCC Cab1, Dave will offer the youngster an opportunity to blow the whistle or horn. For the older kids, he will have them help start up the train, telling them to hit the AUX1 – 7 to get permission to start, then turn on the bell to warn everyone that a train will be moving. Two short blast of the whistle announces that the train is going to move forward and finally, Dave trusts the young engineer to rotate the red speed dial to get the train moving.

For the last few years, my son and I have had the privilege of assisting Dave with the setup, operation and breakdown of this holiday tradition.

It is truly a joy watching the looks on the faces when the kids see the trains and hearing them excitedly tell their parents that they got to blow the horn.

You can see the older men going back to their childhood as they watch the trains go by. Some of them will tell you all about their sets. How their Dad had built them a table in the basement or cellar. How their brothers and sisters would play.

This is why the Festival of Toy Trains is such an important part of our community. It is my honest hope that this tradition goes on for another 30 years.

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