Enjoy miniature magic at the 25th Annual Model Train Festival, plus other fun things to do


What happens from December 17 to 23?

Like gingerbread houses and snowmen, model trains are a staple of many traditional holiday scenes – and you can dive into the magical miniature world of model trains at Washington State History Museum’s 25th Annual Model Train Festival in Tacoma.

“We have model trains on every floor of the museum in all sizes and scales,” said Jennifer Kilmer, director of the Washington State Historical Society.

The event is a great way to get into the holiday spirit because of the joys of playing with the trains; “There’s a kind of association with the holidays that really makes the event special,” she said.

Visitors will find seven detailed train models and miniature western Washington landscapes around the museum. Now in its 25th year, “[visitors] know what they’re going to see and experience, so it becomes a tradition for them,” Kilmer said.

“We also have groups that have been with us for a very long time, like the Kitsap Live Steamers and Boeing Model Train Engineers and, of course, the Puget Sound Model Railroad Engineers, who maintain the permanent layout of the American History Museum. State. We owe them the creation of the festival because it was their idea in the beginning,” she said.

In addition to seeing model trains, visitors can also enjoy several photo opportunities. In years past, Santa Claus was a guest at the festival, but this year, due to COVID-19, two unique selfie opportunities will take his place. A train station backdrop with an old-fashioned mailbox invites children to send letters to Santa Claus. There will also be a green screen that will transport guests into a historic photo or a giant snow globe.

“I think it’s just a great gathering place for families and people of all ages. I see tiny little kids who are thrilled with trains, and then I see grandparents who remember the train they had when they were little – so I think it’s just this great connection point. Even if you don’t like model trains, the railroad is right here next to the museum, so there’s also a connection to Washington State history and the state’s railroads” , said Kilmer.

The Model Train Festival (1911 Pacific Ave., Tacoma) runs from December 17 to January 1. 2. Find more information and COVID-19 safety measures at: washingtonhistory.org/exhibit/trainfestival

What else is going on

Here are some other events happening December 17-23 in the Puget Sound area. If you would like to submit an event for review, complete the form at the bottom of the post. Please check event websites for more information, including COVID-19 requirements.

Paint and Sip of Winter (acrylics) — December 18

King County Library System presents a Virtual Step-by-Step Acrylic Painting Workshop at 1:30 p.m. Grab a drink and bring your acrylic paints, brushes, mixed paper, tape, a cup of water to wash your brushes, and a pencil or pen. For ages 18 and over. Register in line; free. kcls.org

Make Spirits Bright Holiday Cocktail Class – December 18

Join Raymond Stencel of Diageo Hospitality for a few holiday sips and light bites from 4-6pm Start class with a Don Julio welcome cocktail and sherry eggnog, then be guided to prepare a Johnnie Walker holiday penicillin or a scratch-proof seed lip concoction. End the evening with a comforting Tanqueray tea toddy. To buy tickets in line (21+ only); $55. 99 Union Street, Seattle; 206-749-7000; fourseasons.com/seattle

A solstice bonsai — December 18

The Pacific Bonsai Museum hosts a leisurely walk through the woods to explore bonsai trees lit by soft lights (and your flashlights) from 4-7 p.m. Free with a suggested donation of up to $10. 2515 S. 336th Street, Federal Way; 253-353-7345; pacificbonsaimuseum.org

An American Christmas Benefit Concert and Reception — December 18

Enjoy this benefit concert and reception featuring lively early American music from New England, Appalachia and Shaker traditions at 7 p.m. of the variety of traditions that combine to create America’s musical heritage. To buy tickets in line; $20 to $30. 363 Mercer Street, Seattle; 206-919-2471; sparkle.org

Seattle SantaCon 2021 — December 18

Join thousands of other Santas for the second weekend of Seattle SantaCon, an annual mass gathering of people dressed in Santa costumes who parade through the streets and inside bars of Seattle (and other cities of the world). To buy tickets in line; $5 to $30. Location varies; facebook.com/seattle.santacon

Virtual Black Santa — December 18-19

The Northwest African American Museum presents a virtual tour with Black Santa Claus at NAAM’s Black Santa Winter Wonderland from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m. December 18 and 2 p.m. to 6 p.m. December 19. After individual time with Santa Claus, attendees will be directed to a virtual photo booth for souvenir photos. Register in line; $20/family. naamnw.org

Kwanzaa Market in Wa Na Wari — December 18-19

Join Wa Na Wari for a weekend at Kwanzaa Market from noon to 5 p.m. Clothing, books, art, beads, teas, plants and more will be for sale from local vendors. A free photo booth will also be on site. Free. 911 24th Avenue, Seattle; 206-485-7563; www.wanawari.org

Pop-up Molly Hashimoto — December 18-19

Seward Park Audubon Center is hosting a two-day pop-up showcasing framed and unframed prints, books and greeting cards by Molly Hashimoto. Hashimoto’s prints and watercolors celebrate nature and showcase western animals and landscapes. There will also be a live demonstration of an oil ink printing technique from 1-3 p.m. on December 19. Free. 5902 Lake Washington Boulevard S., Seattle; 206-652-2444; sewardpark.audubon.org

Holiday Cookie Workshop — December 19

Puget Consumers Co-op Presents Family Bake with Cocoa Cookies, Grandma’s Cookies Filled with Raspberry Jam, Russian Tea Cakes and Lemon Chip Cookies 11 a.m. to 1:30 p.m. in line; $80. 22621 Bothell Everett Highway, Bothell; 206-545-7112; pccmarkets.com

Letters to Santa and Holiday Tea – December 19

Get into the Christmas spirit with seasonal tea service and a visit from Santa at noon and 2 p.m. During the tea service, stationery will be handed out so children can write letters to Santa and hand-deliver them to St. Nick himself. The menu includes a selection of teas, scones, sandwiches and more. To buy tickets in line; $65. 900 Madison Street, Seattle; 206-622-6400; hotelsorrento.com

“A Festival of Lessons and Songs” – December 21-22

The Northwest Boychoir celebrates its 43rd annual presentation of “A Festival of Lessons & Carols” at 7:30 p.m. This holiday concert series features the combined 65-member Northwest Boychoir and Vocalpoint choir. To buy tickets in line; $10 to $50. 1111 Harvard Ave., Seattle (December 21) and 1119 Eighth Ave., Seattle (December 22); 206-524-3234; nwchoirs.org/northwest-boychoir


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