Big Valley Bulletin. FILE PHOTO

Big Valley Bulletin. FILE PHOTO

Trains take over Big Valley again this weekend

Come check out one of the largest model train layouts in North America.

Linda Stillinger

Big Valley Bulletin

Make plans to attend the 14th annual Alberta Free-Mo model train extravaganza this weekend at the Big Valley Agriplex. Open to the public on Aug. 19 and 20, this event is organized by the Calgary Free-Mo Club. In 2007 it was the largest of its type in North America and has been a remarkable event ever since. Each year model train enthusiasts create and operate more than 350 feet of bench work, with meticulously detailed scenery alternating between prairie scenes, mountain vistas and cityscapes, and covering almost the entire surface of the Big Valley arena. Join us in Big Valley to check out this extraordinary free, family-friendly event.

There are four tourist trains coming to the village this week. On Thursday, Aug. 17 and Friday, Aug. 18, the trains will arrive in Big Valley at 4:10 p.m. and depart at 6 p.m. On Saturday, Aug. 19, the train arrives at 4:10 p.m. and departs at 6:30 p.m. The last train of the weekend is on Sunday, Aug. 20 and will arrive at 12:40 p.m. and depart at 3 p.m.

One important component in a good western is a steam train and Big Valley has had the unique opportunity to host a number of film crews over the years.

“The Gunfighters,” a 1987 television Western starring Art Hindle and George Kennedy, took advantage of this area’s railway preservation history to include working steam engines and cars during the filming of the movie.

The 2005 Hallmark Hall of Fame movie “The Magic of Ordinary Days” starring Keri Russell, Skeet Ulrich and Mare Winningham included a number of scenes filmed here in Big Valley using the train station as a background. The Alberta Prairie Steam train with number 41 engine pulling was used as well.

Featuring Big Valley’s train station and Alberta Prairie’s trains, the music video for the fourth single “Hank Williams Lonesome” from 2010 Canadian Country Music Association Artist of the Year Gord Bamford’s Day Job Album was filmed in Stettler, Big Valley, Red Deer, and Markerville in June 2011.

Don’t forget the McKenzie Crossing Campground will be closed from Aug. 17 to 21. There will be no camping or access to the river during these days. Apologies for any inconvenience.

The Big Valley Golf Course Society will be holding a tournament on Saturday, Aug. 26. Registration will be at 9:30 a.m. with tee off at 10 a.m. The tournament will be 18 holes, best ball with lunch after nine holes and “Baron of Beef” on a bun at the finish. For further information call Bob or Sue Boswell at 403-876-2031.

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