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Model Train Show Commemorates 1964 World's Fair

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The 50th Anniversary of the 1964 World's Fair has been celebrated with a variety of tributes. Now comes one featuring model trains. NY1's Tara Lynn Wagner filed the following report.

It was all aboard for a trip to 1964 and the worlds fair in Queens. Some of the most iconic exhibits of that historic event are featured in this exhibit at the Queens Botanical Garden.

"Queens Botanical Garden started at the 1939 Worlds Fair. We were a small exhibit and then we were again at the '64-'65 worlds fair. If it wasn't for the Worlds Fair, we wouldn't be here," says Queens Botanical Garden Public Programs Manager Regina Forlenza.

And neither would this crowd, full of train enthusiasts of all ages.

"They actually love model trains, so it's great for then to see them live," says parent Rafi Blumenthal of Astoria.

"My favorite part is like where all the dinosaurs are and the trains running. I have the same thing at home, you know?" says 6-year-old Tristan.

"We have some trains in our basement. We put up trains at Christmas time and so we like to play with trains," says parent Michael Rohling of Bay Shore.

So does Dan Saporito of the Long Island Garden Railway Society. He says the seeds for this exhibit were planted over a year ago when his club sat down with the staff at the garden.

The exhibit features several trains chugging along almost 200 feet of track, including a replica of a train called "The General" and a ride-on train, both part of the '64 worlds fair.

"It was a big attraction. They had a large area with a tent in the middle. There was a duck pond in there with Long Island ducks, little yellow ducklings. It was fantastic. I have great memories of that from being a child," Saporito says.

However, what the show really revolves around is this: a replica of the famous unisphere made entirely of wood. It took a few members over a thousand hours to create it.

"A lot of work, a lot of cutting, a lot of glue and shaping. It's got to be something that needs to be appreciated," Saporito says.

The exhibit is only up and running for the holiday weekend. After that, the trains make a return trip to their owners on Long Island.

As for the unisphere, administrators hope it can stay planted here for at least a little while longer.

"It's such wonderful craftsmanship. It's a beautiful sculpture and if we can have it on a temporary loan we'd love to keep it for a small amount of time," says Forlenza.

Organizers hope to make the train show an annual event.

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