Great fun Odd Fellows Lodge great room with Holiday Train Display
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula News
Published: December 18, 2013
By Peggy Kelly
Santa Paula Times
There have been a few derailments but nothing serious at the Odd Fellows Lodge where the 6th Annual Holiday Train Display continues to fill the great hall with great fun.
The imaginations of kids and adults alike have been climbing aboard for a ride unlike no other in Ventura County since the display opened to the public November 30 following the Optimist Club Christmas Parade. The display will continue to delight visitors through December 29.
On opening day Chief Engineer Wes Easley was running around making sure the dozens and dozens of engines and railroad cars were staying on track, although there was the occasional accident.
“Usually the tracks will shift if the train is running too fast,” causing such mishaps said Carlos Juarez, who works closely with Easley to stage the display including setting up his own special A Nightmare Before Christmas village tour.
Easley’s collection provides a bulk of the display, which each year benefits Odd Fellow projects and programs.
Viewing hours are Fridays, 6 to 9 p.m., Saturdays 1 to 7 p.m. and Sundays 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and other times by appointment. Children 5 and under are free, 6 to 12 years old are only a $2 donation each and for those 13 years old and older the donations is only $3 each.
The display is chugging along about 800-feet of track and includes dozens of different gauge engines, railroad cars, stations, villages, people, and animals. Local landmarks include a scale Depot built by Easley and a new edition, a scale Odd Fellows Lodge and Clocktower constructed by Juarez.
The display is ready for anything: “Derailments can be pretty dramatic, but we have a repair station,” for engines and tracks alike.
No detail is overlooked: the miniature drive-in theater at one of the villages that suspiciously reminds one of Santa Paula was showing Cars, but Juarez said the bill would be changed to Santa Claus is Coming to Town the closer it gets to the holiday.
“I think the really big draw this year is Thomas the Tank,” and all his friends that have drawn kids to the observation deck that acts as a bridge for locomotives.
“I’ve seen kids get down on the deck to get as close to the trains as they can...that’s what we want.”
Easley, Juarez and others who help with the display can spend quite a bit on the trains and accessories that can be “expensive, but we get a lot from thrift stores or people donate.”
There are plenty of local touches: “There’s our Rotary Faulkner Farm Pumpkin Patch complete with the trebuchet,” the famed pumpkin chucker that Juarez said was kit purchased online and constructed by Sandy Easley.
Juarez is proud of the scale model of the Odd Fellows building: “When I finished it Wes asked me where the doorknobs were and I told him he didn’t put doorknobs on the Depot. He showed me and sure enough he had. He shamed me into it,” with tiny doorknobs donated by Larrianne’s Small Wonders miniatures located in Ventura, whose owner said Juarez, “Lives here in Santa Paula!”
The display is on the second floor of the iconic Odd Fellows Lodge & Clocktower, located at 868 E. Main St., which can also be accessed from South Alley at the rear of the building via an exterior staircase; there is also a small elevator located just inside the rear ground floor door.
There are engines for sale and a chance to win a prize by guessing how many nutcrackers are displayed in the room.
There will also be drawings for several ‘G’ sets to be awarded in time for holiday giving; raffle tickets are only $1 each and the drawing will be held Sunday, December 21 at 4 p.m. You don’t have to visit the display to purchase raffle tickets at the door.
Raffle tickets can be purchased at the door or separately.
Easley said to arrange a special viewing or purchase raffle tickets contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 805-766-4400.