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In association with the Tustin Garden Club tour, I think that we set two new records today for the Tortoise & Lizard Bash RR. The first was for attendance with about 600 present over the 5 hour period from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m.

The other was for the oldest attendee. One gentleman who came to see the railroad was 101 years young. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif
 

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Posted By toddalin on 04/24/2008 8:07 PM

In association with the Tustin Garden Club tour, I think that we set two new records today for the Tortoise & Lizard Bash RR. The first was for attendance with about 600 present over the 5 hour period from 10:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m. The other was for the oldest attendee. One gentleman who came to see the railroad was 101 years young. /DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif" border=0>" src="/DesktopModules/NTForums/themes/mls/emoticons/w00t.gif" />


Those are very impressive numbers. That had to be a real thrill for you. I know that when I get a bus load of tourists in to see my garden railway that it is always quite the event, but six hundred, NOW you're talking !
 

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To all:
Todd and Linda Brody have a superb garden railroad. They are very active members of the SoCalif. Garden RR Society. Those garden enthusiasts attending were not disappointed!

Here's the big question: What did members of the Tustin Garden Club Tour say to either Todd or Linda?

Any encouraging responses from those attending?
1 - Were few even aware of garden railroading?
2 - Did any ask Todd or Linda:
How? what is the cost? Can you leave it outside? Maintenance?

Was your garden WITH a railway a main attraction on the tour? Were you the ONLY family with the RR on the tour???

If 600 will attend, how many other garden clubs are there whose members have yet to ask? Have yet to see?
Does the large scale-outdoors industry ever strategically cater to those who already have 50% of the project in their yard: a devotion to gardening?
My answer is no.
Our SoCal group membership used to be a steady 250 families -- now it has dropped to 120+. Gas? Distances to drive? all are given reasons. Yet,
600 attending a tour stop at a home with a garden RR-- incredible good source for people half-way interested in annimating their yard.

Todd, thanks for the report. Please offer more that might be encouraging to those trying to increase LS interest and club memberships.

Wendell
 

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Posted By Wendell Hanks on 04/27/2008 12:00 PM

 If 600 will attend, how many other garden clubs are there whose members have yet to ask? Have yet to see? Does the large scale-outdoors industry ever strategically cater to those who already have 50% of the project in their yard: a devotion to gardening? My answer is no. Our SoCal group membership used to be a steady 250 families -- now it has dropped to 120+. Gas? Distances to drive? all are given reasons. Yet, 600 attending a tour stop at a home with a garden RR-- incredible good source for people half-way interested in animating their yard. Todd, thanks for the report. Please offer more that might be encouraging to those trying to increase LS interest and club memberships. Wendell


I am inclined to believe that the hobby sells itself despite the increasing costs both within and outside of the hobby  once enough people have an opportunity to personally view some of these stunning garden railways.  Mostly, as always, it is a matter of getting the word out. As I have pointed out before, many of my summer visitors have never seen nor heard of this scale until they have seen mine. I often get questions from a few of these visitors who obviously are interested in pursuing it farther.  Imagine having to travel all the way to Alaska to discover this LS hobby. 
 

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Posted By Wendell Hanks on 04/27/2008 12:00 PM
To all:
Todd and Linda Brody have a superb garden railroad. They are very active members of the SoCalif. Garden RR Society. Those garden enthusiasts attending were not disappointed!
Here's the big question: What did members of the Tustin Garden Club Tour say to either Todd or Linda?
Any encouraging responses from those attending?
1 - Were few even aware of garden railroading?
2 - Did any ask Todd or Linda:
How? what is the cost? Can you leave it outside? Maintenance?
Was your garden WITH a railway a main attraction on the tour? Were you the ONLY family with the RR on the tour???
If 600 will attend, how many other garden clubs are there whose members have yet to ask? Have yet to see?
Does the large scale-outdoors industry ever strategically cater to those who already have 50% of the project in their yard: a devotion to gardening?
My answer is no.
Our SoCal group membership used to be a steady 250 families -- now it has dropped to 120+. Gas? Distances to drive? all are given reasons. Yet,
600 attending a tour stop at a home with a garden RR-- incredible good source for people half-way interested in annimating their yard.
Todd, thanks for the report. Please offer more that might be encouraging to those trying to increase LS interest and club memberships.
Wendell


In this case, the crowd is primarily (~95+%) well-to-do women "advanced in years" though there were certainly plenty of "trophy wives." The Tustin Garden Club told us that they did have an inordinantely high percentage of men compared to their past events, because of the announcement of the railroad. Recognize that the four gardens (five with an optional $50 lunch at a georgeous view home) were open on a Thursday between 10:00 a.m. an 3:0 p.m. when most people are at work.
Few if any had seen anything like this before. Many asked if they could bring their husbands back to see the railroad and we put them on our invitation list.
Dozens inquired into whether it stayed out all the time, what was waterproof, etc. and many were interested in the miniature plantings. Several inquired into cost, and most thought it would cost a lot more than it did (but probably would if built now). All loved the various vingettes!
As far as I'm concerned, that's what most people want to see in a garden railroad. A well thought-out series of vinettes, each telling a story. The trains provide the interconnecting link from story to story and things should be plausible. Most people don't seem to care if its a passenger or freight train, or a diesel or a steam engine, so long as it provides movement through the garden (though it is nice to have at least a few cars behind the engine).
Two or three women did mention that they had similar trains (LGB) and one in Temecula said that she had intentions of building a garden railroad, especially now. I told her to contact me if she had any questions.

One gentleman who did attend summed it up best..., "If you've smelled one rose..., but this is quite different!"
 
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