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Spooky train display to pull into station in Zelie

Vehicles parade down a Main Street within the Model Train Club of Zelienople's Fourth of July display at the Masonic Temple Lodge in Zelienople in July. Butler Eagle File Photo

A festive autumn diorama will be on display again at the Masonic Building in Zelienople this Halloween.

The Model Train Club of Zelienople will present its Halloween-themed model train display on Oct. 31 during Zelienople’s Trick-or-Treat night from 6 to 8 p.m.

The display will be decorated with fluorescent paint and props that will glow under black light illumination, said Matthew Beahm, co-founder of the club.

“We got over 500 people who came through last year to see the display,” Beahm said. “Before that, maybe a couple hundred the first year. I’m assuming it will grow again this year.”

The club’s 20 members work to put together four different displays each year, for Easter, the Fourth of July, Halloween and Christmas, he said.

“It takes us approximately two days to set things up, and we do reuse things from the previous year. However, we’re continuing to add new things,” Beahm said. “This year, for the Halloween display, we’re going to have a miniature drive-in theater that will be showing ‘It’s the Great Pumpkin, Charlie Brown!’ actually playing. We’re going to have a smoking house, a Ghostbusters-themed fire station with the Stay Puft marshmallow man and Slimer — and this is all in miniature and highlighted into fluorescent colors.”

At the event, free candy and hot apple cider will be available for visitors. In past years, kids have shown up to check out the display in their costumes, Beahm said.

“We'll probably go through at least 15 gallons of cider this year, and we are going to plan on over 20 pounds of candy. We also have dog treats available,” Beahm said. “That’s one of the most rewarding things, is to see the young people show up with their costumes of all types and get wowed by the black light display, the trains, and of course, the candy.”

The display incorporates local Zelienople, Harmony and southwestern Butler County landmarks, Beahm said, including a model of the Harmonist cemetery and an alien spaceship trying to abduct a cow from the Marburger Dairy farm.

“We try to incorporate things from the local area,” he said. “People always comment, ‘Hey, I know that! I know where that is!’ And that’s rewarding as well, when people identify with things that we put on to showcase our community.”

Members of the club all contribute to building the display in different ways, he added.

“All of them help in many different aspects, from power supply for the trains to the landscaping, to helping to promote bringing in their trains, bringing in some of their scenery,” he said. “It’s a group effort, and that’s what makes it rewarding as well, that we all come together.”

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