Slideshow | A grand time at Snoqualmie Railroad Days
By CAROL LADWIG
Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter
August 21, 2012 · 2:57 PM
Hours before the Railroad Days parade, dads were dutifully setting up the family folding chairs along Railroad Avenue, runners were taking their last warm-ups before the fun runs, and 2 year-old Connor Danielson was immersing himself, and his grandma, in the world of model trains.
“This is the love of his life,” said Christine Danielson, watching her grandson literally run circles around a model railroad set up in the American Legion Hall last Saturday. “We’ve been here quite a while.”
Every inch of the N-scale T-Trak model fascinated Connor, with the added benefit that it was built on a table, low enough for him to see it all without a boost from Grandma.
Over on the Northwest Railway Museum Grounds, three men were trying to manhandle the large Carmichael’s Nuts nut across some tracks and over to a grassy area next to the children’s games.
Taking a much-needed break, Bryan Woolsey, who co-owns Carmichael’s Hardware with his wife, Wendy Thomas, explained.
“It was over there,” he said, pointing in the general direction of Carmichael’s, “but we decided we wanted it over here.”
With that, it was back to work for Woolsey, and his helpers Duane and Sam.
Painters Ron Raasch and Susan K. Miller were also hard at work, having picked out their subject matter for the Plein Air paint-out and sketched rough images on their canvasses. Miller, working on an image of the Depot, was undaunted by the 3 p.m. paint-out deadline.
“I’m pacing myself!” she joked. Although both she and Raasch made poor choices on where to set up their easels — they were too close to the train tracks and were asked to move back for their own safety — both also produced excellent paintings, receiving honorable mentions in the 3 p.m. judging.
“This is what God meant when He said watercolor,” Snoqualmie Arts Commission member Jeff Waters said of Miller’s piece.
By the time the first racers were charging toward the finish line, the temperature had risen enough to take several runners by surprise. The start was cool enough, said new Snoqualmie resident Billy Johnson, who was happy to have made his personal goal for the 5K, but said, “but the rabbits took off faster than I expected!”
Some 800 runners took part in the Railroad Days fun runs, a count that’s down a little from last year, said organizer Sean Sundwall. He attributed the small decline more to the number of races available to runners now than to concerns about hot weather or a minimal fee increase he had to charge this year to cover a new state sales tax.
Over at the post-race table, volunteer Kathy Turpin, with her daughters Makayla and Abby were busy breaking open cases of water bottles and slicing bananas and oranges for the grateful finishers. Turpin had been busy since the 5K runners started trickling in minutes ago.
Sundwall finished first in the men’s 5K, with a time of 16:05. Amber Farthing took first in the women’s 5K, at 18:16. In the 10K, Gregory Leak had the fastest men’s time at 31:19, and Gwen Lapham had the fastest women’s time with 36:12.
After the awards, it was time, at last for the parade. Aiden, Wesley and Sophia Adams, and cousins Jared Yunker and Ava Chable-Xool had waited so long, they’d invented their own parade costumes; plastic bags that were originally meant to hold their parade candy became eye-catching hats for each of the kids
As grand marshals Jim and Lisa Schaffer passed the judging stand, they were subjected to a police traffic stop. Members of the department, along with new Police Chief Steve McCulley, gave their retired leader a final salute, which he soberly returned, and Lynn McCulley presented Lisa Schaffer with a bouquet of flowers. The current and former chief’s wives hugged as Schaffer shook McCulley’s hand.
Next up was the spectacle, gymnastics, song and dance numbers, wrestling, bike tricks, and the amazing stunts of the Panther Pride Unicycle Team, with a grinning Alan Tepper in the middle of the pack. A few blocks away, the “boom” that could only come from the Sea Fair pirates was already rattling windows and making children cry. The pirates put on a prize-winning performance, swaggering down the street, making people laugh and acting like the salty dogs they were. In celebration of their win, they carried their act into the beer garden for the afternoon.
All afternoon, three stages filled the air with music, while Burlington-Northern staffers demonstrated some of their heavy equipment, such as an automatic spiker that captured 11 year-old Parker Grady’s attention. “It was really cool,” said the Snoqualmie boy, after inspecting the new spike with his dad, Dan.
Over at the arts depot, children and adults gave painting a try, with the help of Lanice Gillard and other arts volunteers, in a children’s version of the Plein Air paint-out.
Despite all the activity, 15 painters were able to focus on their work and deliver an image, most of them complete, in time for the 3 p.m. official paint-out judging. After lengthy deliberations, the Snoqualmie Arts Council decided to award honorable mentions to Raasch and Miller, then announced Dan Riley of Bellevue as this year’s winner. Riley’s oil painting of a river scene will be the poster for next year’s paint-out. Riley also donated his painting to the city of Snoqualmie.
Contact Snoqualmie Valley Record Staff Reporter Carol Ladwig at firstname.lastname@example.org.