(This page is archived, only visible to board members. It's here for notes on how we did the fair)


Andy's excellent analysis of the "fair special" discount

Normal new member joining in Jan or later pays:

Month of joining:

January:               $40/12=$3.33 per month gets a badge, gets 12 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

February:            $40/11=$3.63 per month gets a badge, gets 11 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

March:                  $40/10=$4.00 per month gets a badge, gets 10 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

April:                     $40/9=$4.44per month gets a badge, gets 9 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

May:                      $40/8=$5.00 per month gets a badge, gets 8 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

June:                     $40/7=$5.71 per month gets a badge, gets 7 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

July:                       $40/6=$6.67 per month gets a badge, gets 6 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

August:                $40/5=$8.00 per month gets a badge, gets 5 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.            

September:        $40/4=$10.00 per month gets a badge, gets 4 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

October:              $40/3=$13.33 per month gets a badge, gets 3 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

November:         $40/2=$20.00 per month gets a badge, gets 2 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

December:         $40/11=$40.00 per month gets a badge, gets 1 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

A new member joining at the Fair in June

June:                     $40/7=$5.71 (Fair Special $20/7=$2.85) per month gets a badge, gets 7 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

July:                       $40/6=$6.67 (Fair Special $20/6=$3.33) per month gets a badge, gets 6 newsletters and can eat at the annual picnic.

So if someone joined at the Fair they saved 49.91% almost 50% off someone who did not get the Fair Special for a membership starting in June or July.

Note the Fair Special dues did not even cover the cost of the Badge and the Meal at the Annual Picnic.  We lost money on every member that joined at the Fair and came to the picnic.  A person that joined in May paid full price as did those after the Fair.  It was a deal and it was clear on the Membership Application of the time lines as to the renewal dates.

Again you can stress to them the dues are due on an annual basis meaning each calendar year and are NOT monthly so the join date is really a moot point.  They can pay in July I do not think we really care as long as they pay prior to the Annual Picnic.  We will not be charging late fees etc…  We can afford to carry them for a couple of months. 


2018 Del Mar Fair

(latest news on top, if your first time here, read bottom up for the history if you want)

CLICK HERE to see 7 videos of our exhibit/layout at the Del Mar Fair


Click here for a map to the off site parking (free!) with a free shuttle to the fair. This is a nice alternative to fighting the main parking lot traffice and the parking fee.


Fair (volunteer) Hosting Information

We need help every day the Fair is open as described in the Presidents Column. We need you to proactively volunteer based on your interest and availability. Use the website calendar as your guide.

Here is the situation concerning hosting our display. We need help. Right now, we have no one signed up to help on June 16,23,24, and July 3. Only one shift is covered on June 3,8,14,15,17,21,28, July 1 and 4.

If you did not receive a Single Day Exhibitor Access Pass at the May SDGRS meeting, go to the Will Call Window near the Main Entrance to obtain a pass. Tell them you are with the San Diego Garden Railway Society. They will have a list of members names authorized to receive a pass. There is no admission fee. Enter through gate behind Will Call Booth (for early shift 30 minutes (9:30 or 10:30) before 10 am or 11am general admission. Our layout is at the Southeast side of O’Brien Hall.

During your first day of hosting we give you passes for other days to save your having to stop at the Will Call Window. But if necessary you can always go to Will Call.

It's a good idea to plan to show up 1/2 hour early, and of course there's more traffic these days.

There is plenty of food available at the Fair, however, you can bring your own food or snacks if you so desire.

The actual running hours of the fair are: (Gate hours are when the public can enter the grounds.)

Friday, June 1 - 4:00PM-11:00PM
Wednesdays & Thursdays - 11:00AM-10:00PM
Fridays - 11:00AM-11:00PM
Saturdays - 10:00AM-11:00PM
Sundays – 10:00AM-10:00PM
Monday, July 2 - 11:00AM-10:00PM
Tuesday, July 3 - 11:00AM-11:00PM
Wednesday, July 4 - 10:00AM-11:00PM

To sign up or, or if you have questions contact:

  • Dick Ericksen, This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 619-306-2336 619-475-1534
  • Gene Cook This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. 619-948-1467
  • Andy Kann This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (619) 787-1552
  • Greg Elmassian This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. (760) 500-1560

Or any Board Member (contact info on this site)


Ready to go! (pictures courtesy J. Kuhns)

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Progress! - May 17

That volcano is BIG!

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Latest update - May 9

The grading has begun along with tunnel placement, ocean dug and some track grade completed.  The next few days will be placing rocks and continue to grade the hills. 

Once we have the rocks in place we can grade the top loop and place that track.  the trestle will be placed with the grading and placement of the rocks for the upper loop.  The river will be constructed with the rock placement of the upper loop as the rocks need to go over the liner.   After the track is place we will begin to place plants and irrigation and then finally we will bring in the buildings. 

The volcano is expected to be placed on Friday if all goes well if not it will be early next week.  Once we have the volcano placed we can place the edges for the ocean and place the liner.  We have some sand to place on the bottom of the ocean.

We will place the ballast after all the track is placed and the trains run properly.  Then the final details can be added such as animals, people, vehicles etc….

Del Mar Fair update – Gene Cook - 26 January

By now, most of us have seen our Pacific Island centerpiece, the volcano, we are planning to add a sugar cane field, the sugar cane transport train and a small shipping port, with steamship. 

On the other side of our Pacific  Ocean, our fair display will continue with the fair’s theme, ‘How Sweet It Is’.

Here we will model a little bit of California, represented by C&H Sugar, an actual sugar processing plant, closed in 2017, that was located in Crockett, a small town on the Sacramento River.  We will model the main C&H buildings, that will also include the ship receiving facilities, silo storage, product warehouse, storage and shipping. Our railroad’s spur and mainline will provide the needed rail service to deliver the C&H products across the country.

Nearby will be one of our three candy manufacturing companies,  MARS Candy.  It will consist of three buildings, manufacturing, storage/shipping and access to the mainline and a point-to-point railway.  Outside of the industrial and rail yards, will be an area to establish a small residential area. 

Further up the mainline, will be the HERSHEY’S CHOCOLATE FACTORY, a larger factory setting which the access to the mainline, as well as their own point-to-point rail service to the warehouse district.

The third candy factory will be located on the upper level of our display.  Here will find the NESTLES’ BABY RUTH factory, formerly the CURTIS CANDY COMPANY, the name as seen on our railroad’s, billboard reefer, rolling stock. Here we will have a three building setting, with access to the upper, mainline railway.

“But wait, there’s more…”  In a later newsletter, I will be mentioning other details for our fair display, like mountains, tunnels, farms, river, waterfall, bridges, trestles, track, trains, dirt, blocks, water and more blocks, more dirt.



The FAIR THEME is announced:


On Tuesday October 17th the Garden Display Staff held a kickoff meeting for the Garden Exhibitors. Gene, Dick and Andy attended. The Fair Theme for 2018 is "How Sweet It Is" and the Garden Department made a slight twist to that and came up with "Living the Good Life". They were hoping to avoid a lot of exhibits with candy canes and lolly pops.

We have taken the Sweets theme to the basic core concept. The theme for the Railroad Exhibit will be based on C&H Sugar and expanded from there. This year the exhibit/layout will be slightly bigger than last year. We will be increasing the size to 1,000 square feet to 750 square feet. This extra space was quickly used to get larger radius and spread things out a bit. This allows us to have 6 trains running at one time. There will be 4 loops and 2 point to point lines.

The C&H Sugar theme leads to the 2 basic components of the Exhibit/layout. There will be a Hawaii side and the mainland side separated by the Pacific Ocean.


The Hawaiian side has a large active volcano, a water fall and the tropical plants. The Volcano will have some special effect features such as: a water fountain out the top (the eruption), smoke (both a small lingering smoke and occasionally the large burst), simulated lava flow, a water fall and yes we must not forget two trains.
The trains that will be running on this side will be an Eggliner that is up the side of the Volcano a ways and a sugar cane train which will run at the base of the Volcano. Along with a shipping dock and a few buildings.

The Volcano is being pre-built at Andrew Kann’s house. Work is being done almost every weekend so give him a call if you are interested in helping or just want to come by and see the progress.

A few of the plants for the Hawaiian side include: palms, pineapple, banana tree, orchid, vinca among a few others. We are still looking for a plant that best models sugar cane at our scale. So if you have a suggestion lets us know.


The mainland side will have the manufacturing plants. There will be a C&H Sugar plant, 3 candy factories, dairy farm, orchard farm and a town. There will be a river with a lake, several tunnels and bridges.

The trains that will be running on this side will be diesel electric engines with candy themed rolling stock. There will be 2 main larger loops with a vertical separation and 2 point to point lines.
The plants will be many of the same plants as last year as we are holding those plants at Andy’s house for re-use with this exhibit/layout. We will most likely add a few new ones as the design progresses.


We will continue to bring updated information to the monthly meetings.
The January 2018 meeting will be held and Andrew Kann’s on Sunday January 21st This meeting will be the kick-off meeting for recruiting members to volunteer to help with preparation work, scenes and write ups to be displayed at various points of interest and the Volcano should be operational.




Update from Rich Perrelli:

The LGB sugar cane car photo came through.  It is representative of the actual cars.  I think I have a magazine article on building and detailing sugar cane cars someplace - if I could only find it...

As near as I can figure the cane was harvested and immediately sent to a mill to be ground to remove the sugar and molasses from the cane.  This greatly reduced the bulk and made it easy to transport the cane sugar out of the islands.  The straw byproduct was then used to fuel the steam engines and the steam powered mill.  Plantations had their own mills, but it was more cost effective for plantations to pool resources and build a larger mill for common use.

Once the raw cane sugar was received in the states, it went to a refinery where some or all of the molasses was removed to create different grades of sugar.  For example brown sugar had some molasses content while white sugar was refined to remove all of the molasses which was then sold separately.  

Based on this preliminary info, a mill at the Hawaii side and a refinery at the US side would be good.  However, I don't know if we really care about that level of historic accuracy.  I suppose just a warehouse and dock master's office at each dock would suffice.

I have almost completed two basic 8 inch long dock sample sections which can be extended to any length.  Together both samples took less than a day to construct.  I will bring them to the next meeting so we can review the construction method and discuss how to enlarge them to fit the theme and the space available.  I also have a book, "Where the Rails Meet the Sea" which has a chapter on Early 20th century Californian sea ports.  I can bring that along as well.

I started building a "Tramp Steamer"  which I thought would make an interesting dock detail.  It is more of a costal vessel than a deep sea craft due to it's 65 foot length.  Even at that, the boat is almost 3 feet long.  I think this is just part of the selective compression we garden railroaders must live with.   I will complete the steamer even if you don't want to use it as a dock detail.   This is my first attempt as a solid foam core fiberglass sheath unsinkable self rightening boat model and it will be an interesting addition to my R/C boat collection.



Board Approves Fair Event

At the August 20 meeting, a subcommittee was formed, headed by Andy Kann, with other members Dick Ericksen and Gene Cook

There's a lot of preparation involved, and please check here for progress.

If you would like to sign up to help, or learn more, feel free to contact Andy directly at 619-787-1552 or email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it..

There are some exciting things planned, including a volcano! The official theme for the San Diego county fair is not announced yet, but we will fit our display to this.


The committee needs all kinds of help, from design, to construction, to manning the display, to tear down.



OK, this is Greg E's idea, so it's here for consideration by the committee: Can we have an interactive display where kids can actually run locomotives?

My idea was something like the "Eggliners" with sound and remote control.

I might be able to get a donation of a few Revolution HO units with sound. The kids could blow the horn and ring the bell as well as control direction and speed.

The max speed could be limited to minimize collision effects, and maybe a small oval for them to circulate on... a figure 8 might be too destructive ha ha.

Of course the transmitters would probably have to be bolted down or on a chain, but the stuff is inexpensive. Put some foam rubber on the ends so they can "bump"...



 The Board has approved the involvement of the SDGRS in the upcoming 2018 San Diego County Fair with a vote of 5-0-0 (5 Board members present).  Andrew Kann present an outline of the request to the Board.  Omega Engineering will be sponsoring the event once again.  A committee was formed at the Board meeting as well.  The committee is compromised Andrew Kann (chair) along with Gene Cook and Dick Erickson.  It was brought up at the Board meeting that the SDGRS were not properly represented at the 2017 Fair Exhibit.  So to ensure that this covered in the 2018 Exhibit, we are looking for one additional committee member that would be coordinating various SDGRS signage, brochures and applications at the Exhibit/Layout.  Please contact Andrew, Gene or Dick Erickson if you are interested in being on the committee.

The committee will be meeting at our monthly meetings to review status and progress of the project.    We are planning on having some workshops for preparing some of the scenes.  We will keep you posted on when these will be happening.

The theme of the 2018 Fair will be announced in October.  Once the theme has been announced we will be full speed ahead developing a track plan and various components that support the Exhibit.  As we did last year, we will have scenes that will be developed/constructed by various members to be placed on the  layout.

We will have a signup sheet at the next meeting for those interested in working on the project.