80-year-old Washington Twp. man still a kid at Carillon’s Rail Fest

Published: Thursday, June 21, 2018 @ 7:00 AM


            Washington Twp. resident George Vergamini helps put on the Carillon Park Rail Festival, which is June 23-24 this year.
            CONTRIBUTED
Washington Twp. resident George Vergamini helps put on the Carillon Park Rail Festival, which is June 23-24 this year.(CONTRIBUTED)

Each June, the sounds of trains and family fun emanate from Carillon Park’s Rail Festival.

The two-day event, which is being held this year Saturday and Sunday, June 23-24, has always had much appreciated help from its biggest fan — Washington Twp. resident George Vergamini.

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Vergamini, 80, said he feels like a kid when attending the event, which features miniature train rides, live steam engines, model train displays, historical displays, train merchandise and rail vendors.

He explained that his loves for trains can be traced back to his roots as a kid growing up in upstate New York.

“We had a railroad that ran right behind our house,” he said. “I just loved hearing them and watching them go by. I guess I am still a kid at heart when I get a chance to see all of this again at the Rail Fest.”

There were more than 7,000 attendees at last year’s Rail Fest, according to Vergamini, who says he feels it will be even bigger this year, the event’s 13th anniversary. He received his start at the very first one, and he has not forgotten the experience.

“”It is growing every year,” he said. “I’m really looking forward to it this year, and I like that all of family members can come out and enjoy themselves.”

He added that people still want to see vintage trains like the 1898 H.K. Porter Locomotive and the B&O No. 1, John Quincy Adams (the oldest existing American-built locomotive), or a Barney & Smith wooden parlor car.

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“Rail Fest shows that there are so many people that enjoy looking at all of the great things about railroad history,” he said. “Railroads are going strong, and their history is fun to look at.”

Leo DeLuca, media coordinator for Dayton History, said Vergamini “has been a valuable asset to Rail Fest.”

Vergamini said the event itself is valuable to the area and is unique.

“Nobody in the area does a festival like this,” he said. “Rail Fest is something special that everybody should try to attend and they will come away impressed by what they see and experience.”

The event is an effort of the Carillon Park Rail & Steam Society, an independent, all-volunteer, group dedicated to the preservation and education of the rail and steam heritage of the Miami Valley

In cooperation with Dayton History’s Carillon Historical Park Museum and to support the museum’s education mission, the group has built and operates the 1/8th scale Carillon Park Railroad as a working, interactive exhibit..

The 13th Annual Carillon Park Rail Festival is pulling back into the station June 23-24

FEATURING:

Free miniature train rides.

Live steam engines.

Model train displays from tiny N-track cars to elaborate G-gauge garden models.

Historical displays.

Rail vendors.

Unique railroad merchandise.

Acclaimed Dayton-born musician Adam Remnant on banjo and guitar.

The Carillon Concert Band: An ensemble of students from approximately over 20 area high schools, with roots dating back to the 1945 creation of the NCR band.

ADMISSION:

Adults (18-59): $8

Seniors: (60+): $7

Children (3-17): $5

Children Under 3: FREE

Dayton History Members: FREE

Hours of Event

Saturday, June 23, 2018

9:30 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Sunday, June 24, 2018

11 a.m. to 4 p.m.

Rail Festival is set against the backdrop of Carillon Historical Park’s transportation collection and picturesque 65-acre campus

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