It is with great relief to report that model railway exhibitions are back in full swing! I attended the Forestville MRE on the 5th March and the recent Canberra Model Railway Expo (26-27 March). Besides the layouts, just seeing people and catching up with friends and retailers was fantastic. I will provide a more detailed report on the exhibitions in my next blog post. But here's a sample to swoon over...
Newcastle (NSW) 1899 in N scale debuted on the exhibition scene at the Canberra MRE (click on the image to expand)
The format of both exhibitions was similar to that of previous exhibitions. I expect upcoming exhibitions will also maintain a similar approach. This will be a topic to discuss in a future blog post.
However, Covid-19 (and derivatives) still had an impact even with relatively high vaccination rates In Australia (which is good thing). I know of a couple of friends who chose not to attend because of their age and/or existing health concerns. The Forestville MRE had mandatory mask wearing which I had no problem with. Compliance was very good - I only saw one group of four people not wearing masks. The Canberra Model Railway Expo recommended mask wearing, especially by exhibitors and retailers. Whatever the case, the social aspect of the exhibitions was still very much enjoyed and in fact was the highlight for me at both events.
Whilst I can appreciate online model railway exhibitions (especially during peak Covid), they really do miss out on the human engagement, conversation, and discussions. Sure, it is possible to replicate to some extent those interactions online, but they just don't feel the same. Online activities have a place in the model railway communications arsenal, but they just don't do enough for me where I can attend an event in person. I hope to be able to attend some future exhibitions interstate through the year.
It's great to have model railway exhibitions back in person (so to speak) - what do you think?