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Trainfest honors Walthers, Model Railroader at 42nd annual event

By Nick Bullock
Published: November 18, 2013
Model Railroader magazine and Wm. K. Walthers are awarded the John H. Tews, MMR, Spirit of Model Railroading Award at Trainfest 2013 on Nov. 8 in Milwaukee.
A Woodland Scenics representative demonstrates products for Trainfest 2013 attendees.
Trainfest 2013 attendees observe one of the many model railroad layouts on display at the show.
Trainfest, America’s largest operating model-railroad show under one roof, is held annually in Milwaukee. At the 2013 Trainfest, held Nov. 8–10, the show committee honored two local model-railroading companies for their service to the hobby.

Wm. K. Walthers and Kalmbach Publishing Co.’s Model Railroader magazine were both presented with the John H. Tews, MMR, Spirit of Model Railroading Award.

Established in 2011, the annual award recognizes individuals and organizations for their dedication to the model-railroading hobby and to Trainfest as exhibited by the leadership and commitment of Trainfest Executive Director John Tews, according to a Trainfest press release.

Phil Walthers and Stacey Walthers Naffah accepted the award for Walthers. Model Railroader Editor Neil Besougloff joined Kalmbach President Chuck Croft and Vice President of Editorial Kevin Keefe in accepting the award for Model Railroader.

“Trainfest is the best-organized train show in the country,” Phil Walthers said in the release. “The show draws in families, kids, inspiring them to take up the hobby.”

The award presentation took place Nov. 8 during Trainfest's sixth annual Friday Product Showcase, where consumers and hobby dealers are afforded an exclusive chance to walk the show floor early. In addition to the dealers exhibiting at the show, 105 store owners attended the Friday Product Showcase. They were joined by 133 consumers.

Total attendance for the 42nd annual show came in at 23,417. Following last year’s record-setting attendance of 25,569, Trainfest 2013 organizers expected a slight dip in attendance. They proved prophetic, but Tews said he was still pleased with the final attendance number.

The lower attendance can be mostly attributed to the Nov. 10 Green Bay Packers game that started at noon, he said. Trainfest organizers expected between 1,000 and 2,000 fewer attendees because of the football game.

With those numbers taken into account, Tews said attendance was right in line with where it should have been.

The show also played host to 70 manufacturers, including nine manufacturers new to Trainfest.