Enthusiasts gather for 10th annual Lawrence Model Railroad Club Train Show

Wearing an engineer hat, Stefen Halm, 5, of Belton, Mo., gets an eyeful of a model train passing Saturday at the Douglas County Fairgrounds. Model train enthusiasts packed into Building 21 for the 10th Annual Lawrence Model Railroad Club Train Show.

Tom Smith, of Springfield, Mo., checks off his list of train parts as he dressed the part of a train conductor.

The trains chug by a Ford factory, through a mountain, past “Gretchen’s Grains,” and by a railroad town complete with a general store and a “Ma’s Place” diner. But it’s easy to miss a few of the somewhat hidden details on the tracks at Saturday’s 10th annual Lawrence Model Railroad Club Train Show.

That’s what club member Bob Lagerstrom is for.

Stationed in the middle of a large “HO” scale train track, where model trains circled around inside Building 21 at the Douglas County Fairgrounds, Lagerstrom let visitors in on some of the little secrets — such as the group of baby polar bears devouring a hiker in the woods.

“A young Republican,” jokes Lagerstrom, who’s all smiles Saturday while sharing his love of model trains with more than 700 people who attended.

Steve Meseraull, club president, said it takes a lot of effort to put on the show that benefits the Lawrence Interdenominational Nutrition Kitchen. The event raises about $1,000, plus a truckload of canned goods. But the real payoff for the train enthusiasts such as Meseraull is the impact on the kids.

“You work and you work and then you see the kids,” he said. “Their eyes get so big.”

Some of the parents were wide-eyed as well.

Michael Black of Lawrence admitted he was probably having as much fun as his 6-year-old son, Jude.

“I’m kind of reliving my childhood,” said Black, who was an avid model-train collector as a kid. He spent the afternoon showing Jude the trains, which elicited enough “oohs” and “ahs” to convince the duo they may need to set up a track at home.

“His birthday’s coming up,” Black said.