Bordentown Holiday Train Show returns for its 10th year

Photo by Thomas Wiedmann
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Photo by Thomas Wiedmann

Bordentown’s annual model train show is set to return to the area this holiday season for its 10th year.

Residents will have the opportunity to kick off their holiday season Thanksgiving weekend, on Nov. 29, when the 10th Holiday Train Show is showcased at the Old City Hall in Bordentown City. The annual event is sponsored by the Old City Hall Restoration Project Committee.

With an idea in mind to start this show, the event coordinators and long-time Bordentown residents, Joe Malone and Zig “Ziggy” Targonski, said it developed “over a cup of coffee, 10 years ago.”

As the model train enthusiasts, along with Targonski’s wife, Nancy, initiated the concept to coordinate a model train show to give the area a unique, special event for the holiday season, they said their goal was to also draw people into the area for local business support.

Malone, who is also a former Bordentown City mayor and assemblyman, said the annual event continuously gathers crowds anywhere between 7,500-10,000 people each year. He noted that in previous years, the show has even had attendees come from out of state and Europe.

Prior to the start of this year’s event, now celebrating a decade-long run, Malone said he anticipates it to draw the community in once again for a sense of togetherness this holiday season.

“We do it for the kids and the community,” Malone said. “Just as we are starting to get ready, people will stop me and ask about it. It’s a lot of work, and we have been setting it up since the first week of October, but it’s a pleasure. People enjoy it, and it’s something nice for the community. With the way things are today, people need something other than aggravation. They want to come and enjoy themselves.”

Offering various types of train setups and scenery, Malone, Targonski, his wife and other model train enthusiasts, showcase their personal collections and displays for attendees to view and engage with one another on the hobby.

Malone said this year’s show will include various gauge train models such as O, N, HO and standard gauge trains, including a special “Thomas the Tank Engine” setup that kids can run themselves, and a “LEGO” setup. Downstairs, a separate train club will be showcasing precision HO scale trains.

The event co-coordinator also said that this year’s show will also welcome back Nancy Targonski’s personal “Seaside” train display as well as an Old English Village setup per multiple requests from past attendees. Zig Targonski’s setup will feature particularly vintage models, some of which date back to the early 1900s.

“I remember the first year we did the show – we thought we were just going to do it for a day,” Malone said. “It wasn’t for long until people were lined up from City Hall to St. Mary’s Church for it. It stunned us.

“You cannot imagine the look on faces of kids when they are running the ‘Thomas’ set. It’s something we have done with a lot of pride to serve the community. It brings a lot of people in the town, which is good for the businesses, and it’s good for the people,” he added.

In keeping with the tradition of the annual event, it’s open to the public and free of admission, but visitors are welcomed to make a donation for the refurbishment project for the Old City Hall.

The train show opening weekend begins Nov. 29 when the event will run through 1-8 p.m. For the following weekends in December through the first weekend of January, the show will be open from 4-8 p.m., but will be closed on Dec. 22.

The Old City Hall is located at 13 Crosswicks St., Bordentown.