Monday, December 27, 2010

Holiday: Winterfest

A model train passed a scene including a school yard at the Winterfest display at the Seattle Center House on 27-December-2010

BELLEVUE, WASHINGTON - For as long as I can remember, there have been two significant model railroad displays around Seattle, Washington during the holidays. One is in a store window at the Bon Marche (now Macy's), where one puts a hand on a designated spot on the window to make a train move, and the other has been in the Center House at the Seattle Center.

People gathered around the Winter Train and Village display at the Center House in Seattle, Washington on 27-December-2010

Much has changed in the Center House over the years. The Bubbleator, left over from the 1962 World's Fair, has been gone since the 1980's. Shops on the lower level have given way to the Children's Museum. Yet, there's still a Pizza Haven (see photo above) near the walkway to the Monorail (another World's Fair holdover, this year decorated for the Harry Potter exhibit at the Pacific Science Center), and the "G gauge" setup of the Winter Village still appears during Winterfest.

A train based on a Colorado narrow gauge prototype passed exited a tunnel at the Winterfest display in Seattle, Washington on 27-December-2010

Winterfest itself has varied over the years. The ice skating rink (in recent years in the Fisher Pavilion) and Winter Village train display have been staples, but there have been various other activities over the years. Back when KING television was a sponsor instead of KOMO, there was a "Holiday Sleigh Ride" in which local television personalities would introduce you riding Santa's Sleigh--easily my favorite VHS tape of my family.

A model of Seattle's King Street Station was where the controls of the Winter Train display were located on 27-December-2010

The train display itself has been interactive in recent years. For a $2 donation, one can become an engineer for a few minutes of one of two trains that run through the display. The trains aren't the only things that move, either, as a hot air balloon regularly takes off from the village for a trip through the sky, and ice skaters rotate through the center of the well-detailed town, amongst other scenes.

Both of the model trains operating at the Winterfest display in Seattle, Washington passed the Engine House on 27-December-2010

Winterfest continues through 31-December-2010 at the Seattle Center, with ice skating extended through 2-January-2011; see the web site for details.

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